Cell division in several lineages of eukaryotic algae occurs predominantly during the night. Cell cycle progression is shown to be regulated by circadian rhythms. However, the advantages and their underlying mechanisms conferred by this restriction of cell division to night are poorly understood. By using the unicellular red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae, we recently showed that the retinoblastoma (RB)-E2F-DP pathway inhibits G1/S transition during the daytime. In C. merolae, E2F is phosphorylated in a time-dependent manner, peaking during the evening, which in turn permits the phosphorylation of RB only when the cell has grown to a certain size threshold. In addition, it is suggested that temporal segregation of photosynthesis during the daytime, which produces reactive oxygen species (ROS), and DNA replication and mitosis during the night is important for eukaryotic algae. Because the temporal segregation of respiratory activity and cell cycle progression has been observed in yeasts and mammalian cells, the temporal restriction of cell cycle progression is probably important for facilitating the safe multiplication of eukaryotic cells.
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Our study was partly supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research 25251039 (to S.M.) and by the Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology Program of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (to S.M.).
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