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Exp Cell Res. 1995 Mar;217(1):84-91.

Mimosine differentially inhibits DNA replication and cell cycle progression in somatic cells compared to embryonic cells of Xenopus laevis.

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  • 1Department of Zoology and Genetics, Iowa State University, Ames 50011.


The plant amino acid mimosine has been reported to block cell cycle progression and DNA replication in cultured mammalian cells, perhaps by blocking initiation. In this study, we show that mimosine does not block initiation or any other step in DNA replication in embryonic cells of Xenopus laevis. Mimosine does not block DNA replication in cell-free "cycling" extracts of Xenopus eggs, nor does it block M to S phase transition in cell-free egg extracts released from metaphase arrest. Microinjection of mimosine into 4-cell embryos had no visible effect on development during the first 3 days after fertilization. Prior to the midblastula transition, when the cell cycle consists of alternating S and M phases, neither chromosomal DNA replication nor replication of microinjected plasmid DNA were inhibited by mimosine microinjected into cleaving Xenopus embryos. Microinjection of mimosine after the midblastula transition, when large endogenous stockpiles of DNA replication components have begun to be depleted and Xenopus embryonic cells have acquired G1 and G2 phases, still did not inhibit cell cycle progression or DNA replication. In marked contrast, mimosine arrested the growth of proliferating cultured Xenopus kidney epithelial A6 cells near the G1/S boundary. We conclude that mimosine appears to block DNA replication and cell cycle progression in somatic cells, but has no apparent effect in rapidly dividing Xenopus embryonic cells.

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