Activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase during normal mitosis in the developing retina
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The p38 member of the mitogen-activated protein kinase superfamily is engaged by phosphorylation in response to environmental stress signals, and may have either permissive or inhibitor roles upon cell proliferation. The cell cycle in the proliferative zone of the retina is tightly controlled and proceeds in synchrony with interkinetic migration of the neuroblast nuclei. We examined the association of p38 kinase activity with the cell cycle in the normal, non-stressed retina of the developing rat, maintained either in vivo or in vitro. Using immunohistochemistry, we show that mitotic profiles in the developing retina are highly enriched for phosphorylated p38. Blockade of p38 activity with the chemical inhibitor SB203580 for 4 h transiently arrested cells at the metaphase-anaphase transition and induced cell death after 20 h. p38 inhibition induced an aberrant mitotic profile, with chromosomes arranged in one side of the cell. The data show that p38 is active during normal mitosis and we suggest that p38 is required for the proper cell cycle progression during metaphase-anaphase transition in retinal neuroblasts.
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