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J Biol Chem. 2005 Jul 1;280(26):24524-31. Epub 2005 May 11.

Cdc2-mediated inhibition of epidermal growth factor activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway during mitosis.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA.


Inhibition of general transcription and translation occurs during mitosis to preserve the high energy requirements needed for the dynamic structural changes that are occurring at this time of the cell cycle. Although the mitotic kinase Cdc2 appears to directly phosphorylate and inhibit key proteins directly involved in transcription and translation, the role of Cdc2 in regulating up-stream growth factor receptor-mediated signal transduction pathways is limited. In the present study, we examined mechanisms involved in uncoupling receptor-mediated activation of the extracellular signal-regulated (ERK) signaling pathway in mitotic cells. Treatment with epidermal growth factor (EGF) failed to activate the ERK pathway in mitotic cells, although partial activation of ERK could be achieved in mitotic cells treated with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). The discrepancy between EGF and PMA-mediated ERK activation suggested that multiple events in the ERK pathway were regulated during mitosis. We show that Cdc2 inhibits EGF-mediated ERK activation through direct interaction and phosphorylation of several ERK pathway proteins, including the guanine nucleotide exchange factor, Sos-1, and Raf-1 kinase. Inhibition of Cdc2 activity with roscovitine in mitotic cells restored ERK activation by EGF and PMA. Similarly, mitotic inhibition of ERK activity in cells expressing active mutants of H-Ras and Raf-1 kinase could also be reversed following Cdc2 inhibition. In contrast, ERK activation in cells expressing active MEK1 was not inhibited during mitosis or affected by roscovitine. These data suggest that Cdc2 inhibits growth factor receptor-mediated ERK activation during mitosis by primarily targeting signaling proteins that are upstream of MEK1.

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