A family of proteins homologous to the cdc25 gene product of the fission yeast bear specific protein tyrosine phosphatase activity involved in the activation of the p34cdc2-cyclin B kinase. Using affinity-purified antibodies raised against a synthetic peptide corresponding to the catalytic site of the cdc25 phosphatase, we show that cdc25 protein is constitutively expressed throughout the cell cycle of nontransformed mammalian fibroblasts and does not undergo major changes in protein level. By indirect immunofluorescence, cdc25 protein is found essentially localized in the nucleus throughout interphase and during early prophase. Just before the complete nuclear envelope breakdown at the prophase-prometaphase boundary, cdc25 proteins are redistributed throughout the cytoplasm. During metaphase and anaphase, cdc25 staining remains distributed throughout the cell and excludes the condensed chromosomes. The nuclear locale reappears during telophase. In light of the recent data describing the cytoplasmic localization of cyclin B protein (Pines, J., and T. Hunter. 1991. J. Cell Biol. 115:1-17), the data presented here suggest that separation in two distinct cellular compartments of the cdc25 phosphatase and its substrate p34cdc2-cyclin B may be of importance in the regulation of the cdc2 kinase activity.

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