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Mol Cell. 2006 Apr 7;22(1):83-91.

Greatwall kinase participates in the Cdc2 autoregulatory loop in Xenopus egg extracts.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


Mutations in the Drosophila gene encoding the serine-threonine protein kinase Greatwall have previously been shown to disrupt mitotic progression. To investigate Greatwall's mitotic function, we examined its behavior in Xenopus egg extracts. Greatwall is activated during mitosis by phosphorylation; in vitro evidence indicates that maturation promoting factor (MPF) is an upstream kinase. Conversely, depletion of Greatwall from mitotic extracts rapidly lowers MPF activity due to the accumulation of inhibitory phosphorylations on Cdc2 kinase. Greatwall depletion similarly prevents cycling extracts from entering M phase. The effects of Greatwall depletion can be rescued by the addition of either wild-type (wt) Greatwall or a noninhibitable form of Cdc2 kinase. These results demonstrate that Greatwall participates in an autoregulatory loop that generates and maintains sufficiently high MPF activity levels to support mitosis.

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