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J Biol Chem. 1995 Jan 20;270(3):1395-401.

A Xenopus nonmuscle myosin heavy chain isoform is phosphorylated by cyclin-p34cdc2 kinase during meiosis.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology, NHLBI, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


There are two vertebrate nonmuscle myosin heavy chain (MHC) genes that encode two separate isoforms of the heavy chain, MHC-A and MHC-B. Recent work has identified additional, alternatively spliced isoforms of MHC-B cDNA with inserted sequences of 30 nucleotides (chicken and human) or 48 nucleotides (Xenopus) at a site corresponding to the ATP binding region in the MHC protein (Takahashi, M., Kawamoto, S., and Adelstein, R.S. (1992) J. Biol. Chem. 267, 17864-17871) and Bhatia-Dey, N., Adelstein, R.S., and Dawid, I.B. (1993) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 90, 2856-2859). The deduced amino acid sequence of these inserts contains a consensus sequence for phosphorylation by cyclin-p34cdc2 (cdc2) kinase. In cultured Xenopus XTC cells, we have identified two inserted MHC-B isoforms and a non-inserted MHC-A isoform by immunoblotting of cell extracts. When myosin was immunoprecipitated from XTC cells and phosphorylated in vitro with cdc2 kinase, the kinase catalyzed the phosphorylation of both inserted MHC-B isoforms but not MHC-A. Isoelectric focusing of tryptic peptides generated from MHC-B phosphorylated with cdc2 kinase revealed one major phosphopeptide that was purified by reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography and sequenced. The phosphorylated residue was Ser-214, the cdc2 kinase consensus site within the insert near the ATP binding region. The same site was phosphorylated in intact XTC cells during log phase of growth and in cell-free lysates of Xenopus eggs stabilized in second meiotic metaphase but not interphase. Moreover, Ser-214 phosphorylation was detected during maturation of Xenopus oocytes when the cdc2 kinase-containing maturation-promoting factor was activated, but not in G2 interphase-arrested oocytes. These results demonstrate that MHC-B phosphorylation is tightly regulated by cdc2 kinase during meiotic cell cycles. Furthermore, MHC-A and MHC-B isoforms are differentially phosphorylated at these stages, suggesting that they may serve different functions in these cells.

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