Induction of Metaphase Arrest in Cleaving Xenopus Embryos by the Protein Kinase p90Rsk

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Science  12 Nov 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5443, pp. 1365-1367
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5443.1365

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Before fertilization, vertebrate eggs are arrested in metaphase of meiosis II by cytostatic factor (CSF), an activity that requires activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. To investigate whether CSF arrest is mediated by the protein kinase p90Rsk, which is phosphorylated and activated by MAPK, a constitutively activated (CA) form of Rsk was expressed inXenopus embryos. Expression of CA Rsk resulted in cleavage arrest, and cytological analysis showed that arrested blastomeres were in M phase with prominent spindles characteristic of meiotic metaphase. Thus, Rsk appears to be the mediator of MAPK-dependent CSF arrest in vertebrate unfertilized eggs.

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