S phase is characterized by the replication of DNA and assembly of chromatin. This requires the synthesis of large amounts of histone proteins to package the newly replicated DNA. Histone mRNAs are the only mRNAs that do not have polyA tails, ending instead in a conserved stemloop sequence. The stemloop binding protein (SLBP) that binds the 3′ end of histone mRNA is cell cycle regulated and SLBP is required in all steps of histone mRNA metabolism. Activation of cyclin E/cdk2 prior to entry into S-phase is critical for initiation of DNA replication and histone mRNA accumulation. At the end of S phase SLBP is rapidly degraded as a result of phosphorylation of SLBP by cyclin A/cdk1 and CK2 effectively shutting off histone mRNA biosynthesis. E2F1, which is required for expression of many S-phase genes, is regulated in parallel with SLBP and its degradation also requires a cyclin binding site, suggesting that it may also be regulated by the same pathway. It is likely that activation of cyclin A/cdk1 helps inhibit both DNA replication and histone mRNA accumulation, marking the end of S phase and entry into G2-phase
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