Academic Appointments

  • Basic Life Science Research Associate, Biology

All Publications

  • A Precise Cdk Activity Threshold Determines Passage through the Restriction Point. Molecular cell Schwarz, C. n., Johnson, A. n., Kõivomägi, M. n., Zatulovskiy, E. n., Kravitz, C. J., Doncic, A. n., Skotheim, J. M. 2018; 69 (2): 253–64.e5


    At the restriction point (R), mammalian cells irreversibly commit to divide. R has been viewed as a point in G1 that is passed when growth factor signaling initiates a positive feedback loop of Cdk activity. However, recent studies have cast doubt on this model by claiming R occurs prior to positive feedback activation in G1 or even before completion of the previous cell cycle. Here we reconcile these results and show that whereas many commonly used cell lines do not exhibit a G1 R, primary fibroblasts have a G1 R that is defined by a precise Cdk activity threshold and the activation of cell-cycle-dependent transcription. A simple threshold model, based solely on Cdk activity, predicted with more than 95% accuracy whether individual cells had passed R. That a single measurement accurately predicted cell fate shows that the state of complex regulatory networks can be assessed using a few critical protein activities.

    View details for PubMedID 29351845

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5790185

  • Dilution of the cell cycle inhibitor Whi5 controls budding-yeast cell size NATURE Schmoller, K. M., Turner, J. J., Koivomaegi, M., Skotheim, J. M. 2015; 526 (7572): 268-?


    Cell size fundamentally affects all biosynthetic processes by determining the scale of organelles and influencing surface transport. Although extensive studies have identified many mutations affecting cell size, the molecular mechanisms underlying size control have remained elusive. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, size control occurs in G1 phase before Start, the point of irreversible commitment to cell division. It was previously thought that activity of the G1 cyclin Cln3 increased with cell size to trigger Start by initiating the inhibition of the transcriptional inhibitor Whi5 (refs 6-8). Here we show that although Cln3 concentration does modulate the rate at which cells pass Start, its synthesis increases in proportion to cell size so that its total concentration is nearly constant during pre-Start G1. Rather than increasing Cln3 activity, we identify decreasing Whi5 activity--due to the dilution of Whi5 by cell growth--as a molecular mechanism through which cell size controls proliferation. Whi5 is synthesized in S/G2/M phases of the cell cycle in a largely size-independent manner. This results in smaller daughter cells being born with higher Whi5 concentrations that extend their pre-Start G1 phase. Thus, at its most fundamental level, size control in budding yeast results from the differential scaling of Cln3 and Whi5 synthesis rates with cell size. More generally, our work shows that differential size-dependency of protein synthesis can provide an elegant mechanism to coordinate cellular functions with growth.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature14908

    View details for Web of Science ID 000362399000050

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4600446