Activation mechanism and function of the MAP kinase cascade.

Research paper by Y Y Gotoh, E E Nishida

Indexed on: 01 Dec '95Published on: 01 Dec '95Published in: Molecular Reproduction and Development


MAP kinase (MAPK) and its activator, MAP kinase kinase (MAPKK), are commonly activated by a variety of extracellular stimuli in mammalian cells and in the process of Xenopus oocyte maturation. In order to investigate the function of the MAPK cascade in oocyte maturation, we produced an anti-Xenopus MAPKK which specifically reacts with MAPKK in vitro. When this antibody was microinjected into immature oocytes, MAPK activation induced by progesterone was prevented. Surprisingly, H1 kinase activation and germinal vesicle breakdown were also inhibited in the oocytes injected with this antibody. These results suggest that the MAPK cascade plays an important role in the maturation promoting factor (MPF) activation during the oocyte maturation process. When this antibody together with Mos was microinjected into Xenopus two-cell embryos, the Mos-induced metaphase arrest (CSF arrest) was prevented. Thus, the MAPK cascade may mediate CSF arrest. During Xenopus early embryogenesis, a low but significant level of MAPK remains active. Injection of mRNA encoding a constitutively active MAPKK resulted in mesoderm induction in animal cap explants. In addition, fibroblast growth-factor (FGF)-induced mesoderm induction was inhibited by expressing CL100 (a MAP kinase phosphatase) in animal cap explants. Thus the MAPK cascade may be involved in the mesoderm induction of Xenopus embryos. The activation pathways and roles of the MAPKK/MAPK cascade in various signaling processes will be discussed.