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EMBO J. 1994 Sep 15;13(18):4343-52.

The proteolysis-dependent metaphase to anaphase transition: calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II mediates onset of anaphase in extracts prepared from unfertilized Xenopus eggs.

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CNRS UPR 9008/INSERM U 249, Montpellier, France.


It has been shown, using spindles assembled in vitro in extracts containing CSF (the cytostatic factor responsible for arresting unfertilized vertebrate eggs at metaphase), that onset of anaphase requires Ca(2+)-dependent activation of the ubiquitin-dependent proteolytic pathway that destroys both mitotic cyclins and an unknown protein responsible for metaphase arrest (Holloway et al., 1993, Cell, 73, 1382-1402). We showed recently that Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaM KII) activates the ubiquitin-dependent cyclin degradation pathway in CSF extracts (Lorca et al., 1993, Nature, 366, 270-273), but did not investigate its possible effect on sister chromatid segregation. In this work we identify CaM KII as the only target of Ca2+ in inducing anaphase in CSF extracts, and further show that transition to anaphase does not require the direct phosphorylation of metaphase spindle components by CaM KII. A possible interpretation of the above results could have been that the ubiquitin-dependent degradation pathway is required for onset of anaphase only when spindles are clamped at metaphase due to CSF activity, and not in the regular cell cycle that occurs in the absence of CSF activity. We ruled out this possibility by showing that competitive inhibition of the ubiquitin-dependent degradation pathway still prevents the onset of anaphase in cycling extracts that lack CSF and do not require Ca2+ for sister chromatid separation.

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