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J Cell Sci. 2008 Nov 1;121(Pt 21):3509-14. doi: 10.1242/jcs.036855.

Across the meiotic divide - CSF activity in the post-Emi2/XErp1 era.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Vertebrate eggs are arrested at the metaphase stage of meiosis II. Only upon fertilization will the metaphase-II-arrested eggs exit meiosis II and enter interphase. In 1971, Masui and Markert injected egg extracts into a two-cell-stage embryo and found that the injected blastomere arrested at the next mitosis. On the basis of these observations, they proposed the existence of an activity present in the eggs that is responsible for meiosis-II arrest and can induce mitotic arrest, and named this activity cytostatic factor (CSF). Although the existence of CSF was hypothesized more than 35 years ago, its precise identity remained unclear until recently. The discovery of the Mos-MAPK pathway and characterization of the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) as a central regulator of M-phase exit provided the framework for a molecular understanding of CSF. These pathways have now been linked by the discovery and characterization of the protein Emi2, a meiotic APC/C inhibitor, the activity and stability of which are controlled by the Mos-MAPK pathway. Continued investigation into the mechanism of action and mode of regulation of Emi2 promises to shed light not only on CSF function, but also on the general principles of APC/C regulation and the control of protein function by MAPK pathways.

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