The role of PKN, a fatty acid- and Rho small GTPase-activated protein kinase, in cell-cycle regulation was analyzed. Microinjection of the active form of PKN into a Xenopus embryo caused cleavage arrest, whereas normal cell division proceeded in the control embryo microinjected with buffer or the inactive form of PKN. Exogenous addition of the active form of PKN delayed mitotic timing in Xenopus egg cycling extracts judging by morphology of sperm nuclei and Cdc2/cyclin B histone H1 kinase activity. The kinase-negative form of PKN did not affect the timing, suggesting that delayed mitotic timing depends on the kinase activity of PKN. The dephosphorylation of Tyr-15 of Cdc2 was also delayed in correlation with Cdc2/cyclin B histone H1 kinase activation in extracts containing active PKN. The Cdc25C activity for the dephosphorylation of Tyr-15 in Cdc2 was suppressed by pretreatment with the active form of PKN. Furthermore, PKN efficiently phosphorylated Cdc25C in vitro, indicating that PKN directly inhibits Cdc25C activity by phosphorylation. These results suggest that PKN plays a significant role in the control of mitotic timing by inhibition of Cdc25C.