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J Exp Zool 2000 Jul 01;2872:128-44. doi: 10.1002/1097-010x(20000701)287:2<128::aid-jez3>;2-g.
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Transition of the blastomere cell cycle from cell size-independent to size-dependent control at the midblastula stage in Xenopus laevis.

Wang P , Hayden S , Masui Y .

Dissociated animal cap blastomeres of Xenopus laevis blastulae were cultured at a low Ca level (1 microM) from 9th to 18th cell cycle at 22 +/- 1 degrees C and observed by a time-lapse video recorder. Blastomeres cleaved unequally to increase variability in cell size as cell cycles progressed, but synchronously at a constant cell cycle time of about 30 min up to the 12th cleavage in diploid cells, and up to the 13th cleavage in haploid cells, regardless of their cell sizes. Thereafter, blastomeres cleaved asynchronously at varying cell cycle times in proportion to the inverse square of their radii. The transition from the cell size-independent to -dependent cell cycles occurred at the critical cell radius, 37.5 microm for the diploid and 27.9 microm for the haploid. While the protein synthesis inhibitor, cycloheximide (CHX) lengthened cell cycle times two- to six-fold, epidermal growth factor (EGF) had no significant effect on the cell cycle. CHX-treated blastomeres synchronously cleaved at a constant cell cycle time of 60 min up to the 12th cleavage. Thereafter, cell cycle times became variable in proportion to the inverse square of radii in the presence of CHX at 0.10-0.14 microg/ml, but to the inverse cube of radii at 0.18 microg/ml. The critical cell size of CHX-treated blastomeres for the transition from cell size-independent to -dependent cell cycles remained the same as that of untreated blastomeres. Frequency distributions of cell cycle times of synchronous cell cycles were monomodal with the peak at 30 min, except for CHX-treated blastomeres with the peak at 60 min. In contrast, frequency distributions of asynchronous cell cycles were polymodal with peaks at multiples of a unit time of 30-35 min. To explain these results, we propose that blastomere cytoplasm has 30-min cycles that repeatedly produce mitosis promoting factor (MPF) in a quantity proportional to the cell surface area. MPF is neutralized when it titrates a nuclear inhibitor present in a quantity proportional to the genome size, and sequestered in the nucleus. When the total amount of MPF produced exceeds the threshold required to titrate all of the inhibitor, mitosis is initiated.

PubMed ID: 10900432
Article link: J Exp Zool