It is well-known that embryonic stem cells have a fast cell cycle (very roughly about 12 hours), while typically normal cells have a much longer cell cycle (very roughly about 24 hours). Of course, it is not only the duration that is different, but there are many papers describing differences between cell cycle regulation for normal and stem cells.

Question: What is known about "switch" mechanisms from the the fast cell cycle?

For some cancer cell lines in our research we see that certain drugs can switch from "fast" to "normal" cell cycle patterns - we also want to understand the mechanisms by that can happen.


1 Answer 1


This review (doi: 10.1534/genetics.118.301643) states that:

Cell cycle progression in the early embryo is likely driven by a single CDK (CDK-1) in association with B-type cyclins. In support of this, the alternating S and M phases of the early cleavage-type embryonic cell divisions do not require CDK-4/cyclin D or CDK-2/cyclin E kinase activity (Boxem et al. 1999; Boxem and van den Heuvel 2001)

It makes sense that the absence of a regulatory checkpoint (CDK2 and CDK4) accelerates cell cycle. It's like skipping security at the airport to get to the airplane faster.

So maybe that switch that you're looking for is connected to CDK2 and CDK4 taking control over cell cycle checkpoints.

Please note that this work was done in Caenorhabditis elegans, but it seems that cell cycle regulation is conserved in eukaryotes, since studies in mice (doi: 10.1073/pnas.1115201109) have shown that "Knockouts of Cdk2, Cdk3, Cdk4, or Cdk6 have resulted in viable mice", while cdk1 leads to embryonic arrest.

I know from my own research that myelomas dysregulate cyclins like crazy. So you might want to start there.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE. This looks like it might be a good answer and you've done a nice job of providing some supporting references. However, please include the complete reference information since links can break. One easy way to get that information is to search for the paper on Google Scholar and click on the ‟ symbol to get reference information. This is a good example of how to format references. ——— Also, can you please clarify what the "it" is referring to in "This confirms it, since ..."? $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Sep 4, 2022 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the edit and the tip! Is providing the doi enough? That solves the 'link-might-break' problem, doesn't it? $\endgroup$
    – markur
    Sep 4, 2022 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ You're welcome and thank you for editing — that is much clearer! Using a doi is certainly good, but my personal (possibly old fashioned) preference is for complete citations as they: 1) contain useful "meta" information that allows users to make a quick check for plausibility/reliability (e.g.s: Is this a recent publication? Was it in a journal with a good reputation?) and 2) can only be "broken" by destruction of both the internet and all the paper copies of the sources ... $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Sep 5, 2022 at 5:39
  • $\begingroup$ Would you be so kind to give refrences to your research on: "myelomas dysregulate cyclins like crazy " ? $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2023 at 19:23

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