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J Biol Chem. 2002 Jun 14;277(24):22093-102. Epub 2002 Mar 29.

Mitosis-specific activation of LIM motif-containing protein kinase and roles of cofilin phosphorylation and dephosphorylation in mitosis.

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  • 1Department of Biomolecular Sciences, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miagi 980-8578, Japan.


Actin filament dynamics play a critical role in mitosis and cytokinesis. LIM motif-containing protein kinase 1 (LIMK1) regulates actin reorganization by phosphorylating and inactivating cofilin, an actin-depolymerizing and -severing protein. To examine the role of LIMK1 and cofilin during the cell cycle, we measured cell cycle-associated changes in the kinase activity of LIMK1 and in the level of cofilin phosphorylation. Using synchronized HeLa cells, we found that LIMK1 became hyperphosphorylated and activated in prometaphase and metaphase, then gradually returned to the basal level as cells entered into telophase and cytokinesis. Although Rho-associated kinase and p21-activated protein kinase phosphorylate and activate LIMK1, they are not likely to be involved in mitosis-specific activation and phosphorylation of LIMK1. Immunoblot and immunofluorescence analyses using an anti-phosphocofilin-specific antibody revealed that the level of cofilin phosphorylation, similar to levels of LIMK1 activity, increased during prometaphase and metaphase then gradually declined in telophase and cytokinesis. Ectopic expression of LIMK1 increased the level of cofilin phosphorylation throughout the cell cycle and induced the formation of multinucleate cells. These results suggest that LIMK1 is involved principally in control of mitosis-specific cofilin phosphorylation and that dephosphorylation and reactivation of cofilin at later stages of mitosis play a critical role in cytokinesis of mammalian cells.

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