Signal Transduction

Minute Regulation

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Science  19 Jul 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6143, pp. 216
DOI: 10.1126/science.341.6143.216-b
CREDIT: B. LIM ET AL., PROC. NATL. ACAD. SCI. U.S.A. 110, 25 (3 JUNE 2013) © 2013 NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

A more thorough understanding of cellular signaling mechanisms depends on resolving the spatial and temporal characteristics of such signals in vivo. During the third hour of development of the fruit fly embryo, formation of the membranes that partition the syncytium into individual cells occurs with such regularity that it can be used as a marker of developmental age of the embryo with an accuracy of about 1 min. Lim et al. analyzed the kinetics of the effects of the mitogen-activated protein kinase ERK on transcription in dozens of stained and fixed embryos oriented on microfluidics chips. Activated ERK was known to reduce the nuclear localization of the transcriptional repressor protein Cic, thus increasing Cic's degradation. However, these more refined measurements showed that ERK has a faster regulatory effect on Cic, indicating that Cic degradation may be a consequence of an earlier signal.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110, 10330 (2013).

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