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Cell Cycle. 2005 Mar;4(3):478-82. Epub 2005 Mar 11.

Emi1 class of proteins regulate entry into meiosis and the meiosis I to meiosis II transition in Xenopus oocytes.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Xenopus oocytes are arrested at the G2/prophase boundary of meiosis I and enter meiosis in response to progesterone. A hallmark of meiosis is the absence of DNA replication between the successive cell division phases meiosis I (MI) and meiosis II (MII). After the MI-MII transition, Xenopus eggs are locked in metaphase II by the cytostatic factor (CSF) arrest to prevent parthenogenesis. Early Mitotic Inhibitor 1 (Emi1) maintains CSF arrest by inhibiting the ability of the Anaphase Promoting Complex (APC) to direct the destruction of cyclin B. To investigate whether Emi1 has an earlier role in meiosis, we injected Xenopus oocytes with neutralizing antibodies against Emi1 at G2/prophase and during the MI-MII transition. Progesterone-treated G2/prophase oocytes injected with anti-Emi1 antibody fail to activate Maturation Promoting Factor (MPF), a complex of cdc2/cyclin B, and the MAPK pathway, and do not undergo germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD). Injection of purified Delta90 cyclin B protein or blocking anti-Emi1 antibody with purified Emi1 protein rescues these meiotic processes in Emi1-neutralized oocytes. Acute inhibition of Emi1 in progesterone treated oocytes immediately after GVBD causes rapid loss of cdc2 activity with simultaneous loss of cyclin B levels and inactivation of the MAPK pathway. These oocytes decondense their chromosomes and enter a DNA replication phase instead of progressing to MII. Prior ablation of Cdc20, addition of methyl-ubiquitin, or addition of nondestructible Delta90 cyclin B rescues the MI-MII transition in Emi1-inhibited oocytes.

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