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J Cell Sci July 1, 2001; 114 (Pt 13): 2483-9.
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Incomplete RNA polymerase II phosphorylation in Xenopus laevis early embryos.

Palancade B , Bellier S , Almouzni G , Bensaude O .

Phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II largest subunit on its C-terminal domain (CTD) heptapeptide repeats has been shown to play a key role in the regulation of mRNA synthesis and processing. In many higher metazoans, early embryos do not synthesise mRNAs during the first cell cycles following fertilisation. Transcription resumes and becomes an absolute requirement for development after several cell cycles characteristic of each species. Therefore, CTD phosphorylation has been investigated during early development of the African clawed-frog Xenopus laevis. Fertilisation is shown to trigger an abrupt dephosphorylation of the CTD. Phosphorylation of the CTD resumes concurrently with the mid-blastula transition (MBT). Both are advanced with polyspermy and increased temperatures; they do not occur when replication is impaired with aphidicolin. In Xenopus laevis somatic cells, a set of monoclonal antibodies defined distinct phosphoepitopes on the CTD. Two of them were absent before the MBT indicating that the CTD lacks the phosphorylation at the serine-2 position of the heptapeptide. The possible contribution of RNA polymerase II phosphorylation to the developmental-regulation of maternal mRNA processing in embryos is discussed.

PubMed ID: 11559756
Article link: J Cell Sci

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: mapk1

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