Molecular basis of maturation promoting factor

Jian Kuang, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Maturation promoting factor (MPF), which is functionally defined by its ability to induce Xenopus oocyte maturation, is an M phase (meiosis and mitosis) specific activity that is present in all species tested. It was hypothesized that MPF is a universal trigger of the interphase to M phase transition during the cell cycle. The current model for the molecular basis of MPF is that MPF is a protein kinase having the cdc2 protein as its catalytic subunit and is identical to the M phase-specific histone H1 kinase. In the present study, I have shown that more than just cdc2 kinase contributes to MPF activity, and M phase-specific H1 kinase is composed of at least two entities, instead of just cdc2 kinase. Therefore, the simple model of MPF = cdc2 kinase = M phase-specific H1 kinase should be ruled out. My study began with the characterization of the mitosis-specific monoclonal antibody MPM-2. MPM-2 reacts specifically with M phase cells from different species by recognizing a discrete set of proteins once they are phosphorylated at the G$\sb2$/M transition. I found that phosphorylation of MPM-2 antigens coincided with the appearance of MPF activity during oocyte maturation stimulated by progesterone. If MPM-2 was injected into oocytes before the stimulation, MPF activity failed to appear, and the oocytes could not mature. Furthermore, MPM-2 was able to deplete MPF activity from M phase extracts. These results identified MPM-2 as a probe that recognizes either MPF itself or a regulator of MPF. Since M phase-specific H1 kinase was believed to be identical to cdc2 kinase and MPF, I proceeded to determine whether MPM-2 recognized the M phase-specific H1 kinase. I found that MPM-2 did recognize an M phase-specific H1 kinase. However, this kinase was not cdc2 kinase. This kinase (MPM-2 kinase) is present in a latent form in immature oocytes and is activated in tandem with the activation of MPF during oocyte maturation. It appears to accelerate progesterone-induced oocyte maturation. Therefore, MPM-2 kinase may be a novel positive regulator of MPF activation. MPM-2 depletes MPF activity, but not cdc2 kinase activity. This discrepancy caused me to question the equivalency of MPF with cdc2 kinase. I found that when a high percentage of MPF activity was recovered from gel filtration of mature oocyte extract, the recovered MPF activity was due to two factors, cdc2 kinase and a factor recognized by MPM-2. This factor might activate and stabilize cdc2 kinase. Identification of this factor in the present study may contribute to the understanding of the autoactivation of MPF.

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Recommended Citation

Kuang, Jian, "Molecular basis of maturation promoting factor" (1990). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9033099.