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

A developmental timer regulates degradation of cyclin E1 at the midblastula transition during Xenopus embryogenesis.

We have analyzed cyclin E1, a protein that is essential for the G1/S transition, during early development in Xenopus embryos. Cyclin E1 was found to be abundant in eggs, and after fertilization, until the midblastula transition (MBT) when levels of cyclin E1 protein, and associated kinase activity, were found to decline precipitously. Our results suggest that the reduced level of the cyclin E1 protein detected after the MBT does not occur indirectly as a result of degradation of the maternally encoded cyclin E1 mRNA. Instead, the stability of cyclin E1 protein appears to play a major role in reduction of cyclin E1 levels at this time. Cyclin E1 protein was found to be stable during the cleavage divisions but degraded with a much shorter half-life after the MBT. Activation of cyclin E1 protein turnover occurs independent of cell cycle progression, does not require ongoing protein synthesis, and is not triggered as a result of the ratio of nuclei to cytoplasm in embryonic cells that initiates the MBT. We therefore propose that a developmental timing mechanism measures an approximately 5-hr time period, from the time of fertilization, and then allows activation of a protein degradative pathway that regulates cyclin E1. Characterization of the timer suggests that it might be held inactive in eggs by a mitogen-activated protein kinase signal transduction pathway.[1]


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