Lindsay, Howard D. and Whitaker, Michael J. and Ford, Christopher C. (1995) Calcium requirements during mitotic cdc2 kinase activation and cyclin degradation in Xenopus egg extracts. Journal of Cell Science, 108 (11). pp. 3557-3568. ISSN 0021-9533
Activation of p34cdc2 kinase is essential for entry into mitosis while subsequent deactivation and cyclin degradation are associated with exit. In Xenopus embryos, both of these phases are regulated by post-translational modifications and occur spontaneously on incubation of extracts prepared late in the first cell cycle. Even though high levels of calcium buffer were initially used to prepare these extracts, we found that free calcium levels in them remained in the observed physiological range (200-500nM). Further addition of calcium buffers only slightly reduced free calcium levels, but inhibited histone H1 (cdc2) kinase deactivation and cyclin degradation. Higher buffer concentrations slowed the kinase activation phase. Reducing the free buffer concentration by premixing with calcium reversed the effects of the buffer, indicating that the inhibitory effects arose from the calcium-chelating properties of the buffer rather than non-specific side effects. Furthermore, additions of calcium buffer at the end of the H1 kinase activation phase did not prevent deactivation. From these results, and the order of effectiveness of different calcium buffers in disrupting the H1 kinase cycle, we suggest that local transient increases in free calcium influence the rate of cdc2 kinase activation and are required to initiate the pathway leading to cyclin degradation and kinase inactivation in mitotic cell cycles.
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