Cells of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which bear a cdc4 gene mutation, arrest early in the cell cycle but continue to produce buds in a periodic fashion. We show here that this periodic bud formation by cells already arrested at the CDC4 step is inhibited if the cell cycle regulatory step "start" is also specifically blocked by mutation or by the presence of the yeast mating pheromone alpha-factor. Thus, the characteristic periodic bud formation by cdc4 mutant cells requires the continued ability to perform start. This finding raises questions concerning the nature of start; these issues are discussed.

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