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Cdc14 proteins are important regulators of mitosis and the cell cycle. These phosphatases have been studied previously only in yeasts and metazoans, which grow by fission or budding. Here we describe a homologue (piCdc14) from the oomycete Phytophthora infestans, a primitive eukaryote lacking a classical cell cycle. PiCdc14 complements a cdc14ts mutant of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and may function like other Cdc14 proteins, but displays a strikingly different pattern of expression. Whereas previously studied Cdc14 genes are constitutively transcribed, piCdc14 is not expressed during normal growth but instead only during asexual sporulation. In transformants of P. infestans expressing a fusion between the piCdc14 promoter and the -glucuronidase reporter, expression was first detected in sporangiophore initials, persisted in sporangiophores bearing immature sporangia, and later became restricted to mature sporangia. After germination, expression ended a few hours before the resumption of mitosis in hyphae emerged from the spores. Homology-dependent silencing experiments supported an essential role of piCdc14 in sporulation. It is proposed that the function of piCdc14 may be to synchronise nuclear behaviour during sporulation and maintain dormancy in spores until germination. These results help illuminate the process of sporulation in oomycetes and the evolution of the cell cycle in eukaryotes.


Audrey M V Ah Fong, Howard S Judelson. Cell cycle regulator Cdc14 is expressed during sporulation but not hyphal growth in the fungus-like oomycete Phytophthora infestans. Molecular microbiology. 2003 Oct;50(2):487-94

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PMID: 14617173

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