Switches and latches: control and growth of normal and pathological cells
ON DEMAND EVENT
The cell cycle defines the correct proliferation of cells, that is how these remain “good” and not cancerous. Many genes involved into the cell cycle progression were identified at the beginning of the 1970’s thanks to studies conducted on yeast (yes, the one we use when cooking!). The correct cycle progression, that enables the duplication of cells and the life of men, is controlled by enzymes that are called ciclyn-dependent kinases (CDKs). In multicellular eukaryotes the necessity to respond to a major number of internal and external stimuli has enabled the evolution of multiple and diverse CDKs that are fundamental to maintain the correct cell patrimony of each organism. The active part of the CDKs is the target of enzymes that remove or add phosphorus and determine the phosphorylation status of the complex, modulating its activity more finely. Thus, these enzymes are similar to switches that turn on and off the cell cycle progression, whereas stable interactions are similar to bolts or latches that once they are closed they need a key and not just a simple push.