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Mol Cell Biol. 1997 Nov;17(11):6419-26.

The Mos pathway regulates cytoplasmic polyadenylation in Xenopus oocytes.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester 01655, USA.


Cytoplasmic polyadenylation controls the translation of several maternal mRNAs during Xenopus oocyte maturation and requires two sequences in the 3' untranslated region (UTR), the U-rich cytoplasmic polyadenylation element (CPE), and the hexanucleotide AAUAAA. c-mos mRNA is polyadenylated and translated soon after the induction of maturation, and this protein kinase is necessary for a kinase cascade culminating in cdc2 kinase (MPF) activation. Other mRNAs are polyadenylated later, around the time of cdc2 kinase activation. To determine whether there is a hierarchy in the cytoplasmic polyadenylation of maternal mRNAs, we ablated c-mos mRNA with an antisense oligonucleotide. This prevented histone B4 and cyclin A1 and B1 mRNA polyadenylation, indicating that the polyadenylation of these mRNAs is Mos dependent. To investigate a possible role of cdc2 kinase in this process, cyclin B was injected into oocytes lacking c-mos mRNA. cdc2 kinase was activated, but mitogen-activated protein kinase was not. However, polyadenylation of cyclin B1 and histone B4 mRNA was still observed. This demonstrates that cdc2 kinase can induce cytoplasmic polyadenylation in the absence of Mos. Our data further indicate that although phosphorylation of the CPE binding protein may be involved in the induction of Mos-dependent polyadenylation, it is not required for Mos-independent polyadenylation. We characterized the elements conferring Mos dependence (Mos response elements) in the histone B4 and cyclin B1 mRNAs by mutational analysis. For histone B4 mRNA, the Mos response elements were in the coding region or 5' UTR. For cyclin B1 mRNA, the main Mos response element was a CPE that overlaps with the AAUAAA hexanucleotide. This indicates that the position of the CPE can have a profound influence on the timing of cytoplasmic polyadenylation.

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