Cell division is controlled by nuclear genes

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2-min read | Biochemistry

The cell cycle involves the transformation and progression of the cell from a state of growth and resting (G₁) through to gene replication or the synthesis (S) state. Then the cell enters the second growth phase (G₂) before it enters cell division, which is called mitosis (M). The process begins again with interphase of G₁.

p53 bound to DNA in this artistic impression.

The genes that control these events are found in the nucleus. In the animal cell, all genes are found in the nucleus with the exception of the extrachromosomal information found in the mitochondria.

According to Chow (2010), there are two types of genes, which are oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, that control the cell cycle. Oncogenes, as precursors to cancer-causing genes, mediate cell division, “allowing cells to proceed from one cell cycle stage to the next.” Conversely, tumor suppressor genes, such as p53, which encodes the protein shown here, impede cell division by binding to damaged DNA, signaling the cell of a problem mutation.

Mutations in the p53 gene and its protein product have been linked to cancer, which is uncontrolled cell growth.

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#lifescience

Source: Chow, A. Y. (2010) Cell Cycle Control by Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressors: Driving the Transformation of Normal Cells into Cancerous Cells. Nature Education 3(9):7 [Available Online]

Image: Cho Y, Gorina S, Jeffrey PD, Pavletich NP. (1994) Crystal structure of a p53 tumor suppressor-DNA complex: understanding tumorigenic mutations. Science. 265 (5170): 346-355. doi:10.1126/science.8023157 [Available Online}

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