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Protein Degradation in Cell Cycle

  1. Shavali Shaik,
  2. Pengda Liu,
  3. Hidefumi Fukushima,
  4. Zhiwei Wang,
  5. Wenyi Wei

Published Online: 15 JUN 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0023158



How to Cite

Shaik, S., Liu, P., Fukushima, H., Wang, Z. and Wei, W. 2012. Protein Degradation in Cell Cycle. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUN 2012


Cell cycle is a series of events that take place within a cell, leading to its division and duplication. Protein degradation through ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis plays an important role in the cell-cycle regulation. Most importantly, the Anaphase Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C) and the Skp1-Cullin-1-F-box complex (SCF) are the two major E3 ubiquitin ligase complexes that regulate proper cell cycle transitions by timely degrading the various key cell cycle regulators. The SCF complex controls the G1/S and the G2/M transitions by degrading Cyclin D, Cyclin E, p27, CDC6 and Wee1, whereas the APC complex facilitates the transition from metaphase to anaphase by degrading Cyclin A, Cyclin B, Securin and many other substrates. The APC complex also plays an integral role in the maintenance of chromatin metabolism, particularly in G1 and G0 via destruction of the aurora A kinase. These cell cycle transitions are tightly regulated, and defective regulation of cell cycle leads to genomic instability and ultimately cancer development.

Key Concepts:

  • Cell cycle is an essential physiological process, which generates additional number of cells when the body needs them.

  • Cell cycle checkpoints are the built-in control mechanisms that ensure the accuracy of cell division in eukaryotic cells.

  • The timely destruction of various cell cycle regulators by the APC/C and the SCF complexes is necessary for proper cell cycle progression.

  • The protein degradation pathways involve the ubiquitin-mediated modification of substrates, which are subsequently targeted for degradation by the 26S proteasome.

  • Misregulation of the cell cycle processes leads to abnormal cell division, chromosomal instability and subsequently cancer development.


  • ubiquitination;
  • E3 ubiquitin ligase;
  • cell cycle;
  • protein degradation;
  • proteasome;
  • APC;
  • SCF