The peptidyl prolyl cis/trans isomerase (PPIase) Pin1 plays an important role in phosphorylation-dependent events of the cell cycle. This function is linked to its display of two phosphothreonine/phosphoserine-proline binding motifs, one within the type IV WW domain and a second within the parvulin-like catalytic domain. By microinjection of the compound Ac-Phe-D-Thr(PO3H2)-Pip-Nal-Gln-NH2, which inhibits Xenopus laevis Pin1 with a K
i value of 19.4±1.5 nM, into the animal pole of X. laevis embryos at the two-cell stage, the impact of Pin1 PPIase activity on cell cycle progression and embryonic development could be analysed, independent of WW domain-mediated phosphoprotein binding. Injected embryos showed a dramatically decreased survival rate at late stages of development that could only be partially compensated by co-injection with mRNAs of enzymatically active Pin1 variants, demonstrating that the phosphorylation-specific PPIase activity of Pin1 is essential for cell division and development in X. laevis.