We have analyzed the expression patterns of mRNAs of five cell cycle related proteins in the ventricular zone of the neocortical cerebral wall over the course of the neuronogenetic interval in the mouse. One set of mRNAs (cyclin E and p21) are initially expressed at high levels but expression then falls to a low asymptote. A second set (p27, cyclin B and cdk2) are initially expressed at low levels but ascend to peak levels only to decline again. These patterns divide the overall neuronogenetic interval into three phases. In phase 1 cyclin E and p21 levels of mRNA expression are high, while those of mRNAs of p27, cdk2 and cyclin B are low. In this phase the fraction of cells leaving the cycle after each mitesis, Q, is low and the duration of the G1 phase, T(G)1, is short. In phase 2 levels of expression of cyclin E and p21 fall to asymptote while levels of expression of mRNA of the other three proteins reach their peaks. Q increases to approach 0.5 and T(G)1 increases even more rapidly to approach its maximum length. In phase 3 levels of expression of cyclin E and p21 mRNAs remain low and those of the mRNAs of the other three proteins fall. T(G)1 becomes maximum and Q rapidly increases to 1.0. The character of these phases can be understood in part as consequences of the reciprocal regulatory influence of p27 and cyclin E and of the rate limiting functions of p27 at the restriction point and of cyclin E at the G1 to S transition.
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