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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A requirement for protein phosphorylation in regulating the meiotic and mitotic cell cycles in echinoderms.

Populations of hormone-stimulated starfish oocytes and fertilized sea urchin eggs undergo synchronous meiotic and mitotic divisions. We have studied the requirement for protein phosphorylation during these events by testing the effects of 6-dimethylaminopurine (6-DMAP) upon the incorporation of [32P]orthophosphate. It was found that 6-DMAP blocked meiosis reinitiation and early cleavage and simultaneously inhibited protein phosphorylation, without changing the rate of [35S]methionine incorporation or pattern of protein synthesis. The protein, cyclin (54 kDa in starfish and 57 kDa in sea urchin), continues to be synthesized in the presence of 6-DMAP. This protein is destroyed at first and second cell cycles when 6-DMAP is added 30 min following fertilization but not when this drug is present before fertilization. Thus, cyclin breakdown does not depend on the completion of the nuclear events of M-phase, and its time of breakdown is set at an early step between fertilization and first cleavage. Using tubulin immunostaining, we found that 6-DMAP did not affect the cortical microtubules and resting female centrioles of prophase-arrested starfish oocytes, whereas it induced a precocious disappearance of spindle fibers when applied to hormone-stimulated oocytes. While an early addition of 6-DMAP precluded nuclear breakdown and spindle formation in both systems, a late treatment always allowed chromosome separation and centriole separation. Under these conditions pericentriolar tubulin persisted and could organize new spindles after the inhibitor was removed. It is suggested that (1) the assembly of cortical and centriolar-associated microtubules is not controlled by the same factors as spindle-associated tubulin; (2) specific proteins which are required for the cell to enter the following M-phase can become operative only via a process depending upon protein phosphorylation; (3) microtubule-associated kinases may play an important role in MPF function and spindle dynamics.[1]


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