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The archaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius is a relative of eukaryotes known to progress orderly through its cell division cycle despite lacking obvious CDK/cyclin homologues. Here, in exploring the mechanisms underpinning archaeal cell division cycle control, we show that the proteasome of S. acidocaldarius, like its eukaryotic counterpart, regulates the transition from the end of one cell division cycle to the beginning of the next. Further, we identify the archaeal ESCRT-III homologue CdvB as a key target of the proteasome, and show that state-dependent degradation of CdvB triggers archaeal cell division by allowing constriction of a CdvB1:CdvB2 ESCRT-III division ring. These findings suggest an ancient role for proteasome-mediated degradation in resetting the cell division cycle in both archaea and eukaryotes.

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