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J Biol Chem. 2006 Nov 17;281(46):34736-41. Epub 2006 Sep 18.

The anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome inhibitor Emi2 is essential for meiotic but not mitotic cell cycles.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado 80262, USA.


Vertebrate oocytes awaiting fertilization are arrested at metaphase of meiosis II by cytostatic factor (CSF). This arrest is due to inhibition of the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome, in part by a newly identified protein, Emi2 (xErp1). Emi2 is required for maintenance of CSF arrest in egg extracts, but its function in CSF establishment in oocytes and the normal embryonic cell cycle is unknown. Here we show that during oocyte maturation, Emi2 appears only after metaphase I, and its level peaks at CSF arrest (metaphase II). In M phase, Emi2 undergoes a phosphorylation-dependent electrophoretic shift. Microinjection of antisense oligonucleotides against Emi2 into stage VI oocytes blocks progression through meiosis II and the establishment of CSF arrest. Recombinant Emi2 rescues CSF arrest in these oocytes and also causes CSF arrest in egg extracts and in blastomeres of two-cell embryos. Fertilization triggers rapid, complete degradation of Emi2, but it is resynthesized in the first embryonic cell cycle to reach levels 5-fold lower than during CSF arrest. However, depletion of the protein from cycling egg extracts does not prevent mitotic cell cycle progression. Thus, Emi2 plays an essential role in meiotic but not mitotic cell cycles.

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