Department of Biology, Graduate School of Sciences, Kyushu University, Motooka 744, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka, 819-0395, Japan; Department of Enviromental Science, International College of Arts and Sciences, Fukuoka Women's University, Kasumigaoka 1-1-1, Higashi-Ku, Fukuoka, 813-8529, Japan. Electronic address: [Email]
During cleavage of Xenopus laevis, the first mitotic cell cycle immediately following fertilization is approximately 90 min and consists of S, G2, and M phases. In contrast, the subsequent eleven cell cycles are approximately 30 min and consist mostly of S and M phases. The balance between Cdc25 and Wee1A/Myt1 is thought to be crucial for Xenopus first cell cycle progression; however, the role of Myt1 in this period has not been fully investigated. In this study, we examined the roles of Myt1, Wee1A, and Cdc25A in the first cell cycle of Xenopus laevis. Inhibition of Cdc25A with antisense morpholino oligonucleotides lengthened the duration of the first cell cycle to some extent, whereas it was slightly shortened by ectopic Cdc25A expression, suggesting that the low concentration of Cdc25A during the first cell cycle does not fully account for the long duration of this cycle. Using the Wee1A antisense morpholino oligonucleotide and neutralizing antibody against Myt1, we found that Myt1 phosphorylates and inhibits Cdk1 much more effectively than Wee1A during the first cell cycle in Xenopus. Taken together, these results suggest that the activity of Myt1 is predominantly responsible for the duration of the long G2 phase in the first mitotic cell cycle in Xenopus.