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Biochemistry April 3, 1990; 29 (13): 3157-66.

Xenopus oocytes and the biochemistry of cell division.

The control of cell proliferation involves both regulatory events initiated at the plasma membrane that control reentry into the cell cycle and intracellular biochemical changes that direct the process of cell division itself. Both of these aspects of cell growth control can be studied in Xenopus oocytes undergoing meiotic maturation in response to mitogenic stimulation. All mitogenic signaling pathways so far identified lead to the phosphorylation of ribosomal protein S6 on serine residues, and the biochemistry of this event has been investigated. Insulin and other mitogens activate ribosomal protein S6 kinase II, which has been cloned and sequences in oocytes and other cells. This enzyme is activated by phosphorylation on serine and threonine residues by an insulin-stimulated protein kinase known as MAP-2 kinase. MAP kinase itself is also activated by direct phosphorylation on threonine and tyrosine residues in vivo. These results reconstitute one step of the insulin signaling pathway evident shortly after insulin receptor binding at the membrane. Several hours after mitogenic stimulation, a cell cycle cytoplasmic control element is activated that is sufficient to cause entry into M phase. This control element, known as maturation-promoting factor or MPF, has been purified to near homogeneity and shown to consist of a complex between p34cdc2 protein kinase and cyclin B2. In addition to apparent phosphorylation of cyclin, regulation of MPF activity involves synthesis of the cyclin subunit and its periodic degradation at the metaphase----anaphase transition. The p34cdc2 kinase subunit is regulated by phosphorylation/dephosphorylation on threonine and tyrosine residues, being inactive when phosphorylated and active when dephosphorylated. Analysis of phosphorylation sides in histone H1 for p34cdc2 has revealed a consensus sequence of (K/R)S/TP(X)K/R, where the elements in parentheses are present in some but not all sites. Sites with such a consensus are specifically phosphorylated in mitosis and by MPF in the protooncogene pp60c-src. These results provide a link between cell cycle control and cell growth control and suggest that changes in cell adhesion and the cytoskeleton in mitosis may be regulated indirectly by MPF via protooncogene activation. S6 kinase II is also activated upon expression of MPF in cells, indicating that MPF is upstream of S6 kinase on the mitogenic signaling pathway. Further study both of the signaling events that lead to MPF activation and of the substrates for phosphorylation by MPF should lead to a comprehensive understanding of the biochemistry of cell division.

PubMed ID: 2159326
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Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: cdk1 ins