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EMBO J. 1998 Oct 1;17(19):5627-37.

The kinase Eg2 is a component of the Xenopus oocyte progesterone-activated signaling pathway.

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Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Quiescent Xenopus oocytes are activated by progesterone, which binds to an unidentified surface-associated receptor. Progesterone activates a poorly understood signaling pathway that results in the translational activation of mRNA encoding Mos, a MAP kinase kinase kinase necessary for the activation of MAP kinase and MPF, the resumption of meiosis, and maturation of the oocyte into the sperm-responsive egg. We have designed a screen to identify early signaling proteins based on the premise that some of these proteins would be phosphorylated or otherwise modified within minutes of progesterone addition. This screen has revealed Eg2, a Ser/Thr kinase. We find that Eg2 is phosphorylated soon after progesterone stimulation and provide evidence that it functions in the signaling pathway. Overexpression of Eg2 via mRNA microinjection shortens the time between progesterone stimulation and the appearance of new Mos protein, accelerates activation of MAP kinase and advances entry into the meiotic cell cycle. Finally, overexpression of Eg2 dramatically reduces the concentration of progesterone needed to trigger oocyte activation. These results argue that the kinase Eg2 is a component of the progesterone-activated signaling pathway that releases frog oocytes from cell cycle arrest.

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