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PLoS One 2011 Jan 01;68:e23672. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023672.
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Unfertilized Xenopus eggs die by Bad-dependent apoptosis under the control of Cdk1 and JNK.

Du Pasquier D , Dupré A , Jessus C .

Ovulated eggs possess maternal apoptotic execution machinery that is inhibited for a limited time. The fertilized eggs switch off this time bomb whereas aged unfertilized eggs and parthenogenetically activated eggs fail to stop the timer and die. To investigate the nature of the molecular clock that triggers the egg decision of committing suicide, we introduce here Xenopus eggs as an in vivo system for studying the death of unfertilized eggs. We report that after ovulation, a number of eggs remains in the female body where they die by apoptosis. Similarly, ovulated unfertilized eggs recovered in the external medium die within 72 h. We showed that the death process depends on both cytochrome c release and caspase activation. The apoptotic machinery is turned on during meiotic maturation, before fertilization. The death pathway is independent of ERK but relies on activating Bad phosphorylation through the control of both kinases Cdk1 and JNK. In conclusion, the default fate of an unfertilized Xenopus egg is to die by a mitochondrial dependent apoptosis activated during meiotic maturation.

PubMed ID: 21858202
PMC ID: PMC3156807
Article link: PLoS One

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: bad bax bcl2l1 casp1 casp2 casp3.2 casp8 casp9 ccnb2 cdk1 clock fh h2bc21 kcnip4 mapk1 mapk8 mcl1 mos wwc2

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References [+] :
Antignani, How do Bax and Bak lead to permeabilization of the outer mitochondrial membrane? 2006, Pubmed