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Cell Cycle

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Related Resources: Brochures | Application Notes
    The cell cycle is a coordinated set of cellular events that results in cell growth and duplication. The cell cycle is described by four different phases (G1, S, G2, M) that proceed in a sequential manner. The phase G0 is used to describe a cell that is in a “resting phase” these cells are considered to have exited the cell cycle and are non-dividing. Normal tissue is made up of cells that are in G0 as well as cells that are in the process of dividing or dying. If these normal cellular processes are disrupted, cancer can occur.

Overview of Key Cell Cycle Events
  • G1 Phase: Also known as”GAP 1” stage this phase of the cell cycle during which the cell increases its biosynthetic rate. During this phase a cell will grow larger in size and increase its supply of proteins and organelles (e.g. mitochondria, ribosomes).
  • S Phase: This is the synthesis phase when chromosomal DNA replication occurs. At the conclusion of this phase the DNA of the cell has doubled.
  • G2 Phase: Also known as the “GAP 2” this phase of the cell cycle. During this phase of the cell cycle the cell will continue to grow. Check point control mechanisms ensure that the DNA has been properly replicated and is that none of the DNA damage detection and repair mechanisms need to be activated before the cells divide.
  • M Phase: The Mitotic phase of the cell cycle described the process by which a eukaryotic cell separates its chromosomes into two separate nuclei. This requires the chromosomes condense and the centromeres to attach to fibers so that the sister chromatids can be pulled to opposite poles of the cell. Cytokinesis typically follows this event and the nuclei, cytoplasm, organelles and cell membrane divide into two cells that contain similar amounts of these components.
Progression through the cell cycle is a very controlled and regulated process. When the proteins that drive progression from one stage of the cell cycle to the next fail to regulate cell division a cell can become cancerous and a tumor can develop. Fortunately cells have developed a number of regulatory mechanisms and cell cycle check points to ensure that damaged DNA is repaired and errors in cell division are corrected or the cells are prevented from progressing through the cell cycle.

Progress through the cell cycle is controlled by cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs). These various cyclins and CDK proteins function as pairs and act as control switches that will allow a cell to move from G1 to S or G2 to M.

The various cyclin/cdk complexes that regulate e progression through the cell cycle are activated by the synthesis of specific cyclins during a discreet phase of the cell cycle. Cyclins have no catalytic activity and CDKs are inactive in the absence of their partner cyclin. When activated by a cyclin, sequential phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of a variety of target protein complexes occurs to orchestrate coordinated passage through the cell cycle.

Featured Antibody: Anti-Cyclin D
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Staining of NIH/3T3 cells using Anti-Cyclin D (Cat. No. ABE52, red). Actin filaments have been labeled with AlexaFluor®488-Phalloidin (green). Nuclei are stained with DAPI (blue). This antibody positively stains the nucleus primarily, and the cytoplasm slightly.

Merck offers a wide variety of antibodies for laboratories studying the cell cycle. The tables provide just a few examples of the targets used to study the cell cycle and its, cancer, cell senescence, apoptosis, and autophagy. Don’t see your specific target? Use our antibody search tool to find the exact antibody you need.

Cell Cycle Antibodies

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