The role of Raf and MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) during the maturation of Xenopus oocytes was investigated. Treatment of oocytes with progesterone resulted in a shift in the electrophoretic mobility of Raf at the onset of germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD), which was coincident with the activation of MAPK. Expression of a kinase-defective mutant of the human Raf-1 protein (KD-RAF) inhibited progesterone-mediated MAPK activation. MAPK activation was also inhibited by KD-Raf in oocytes expressing signal transducers of the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) pathway, including an activated tyrosine kinase (Tpr-Met), a receptor tyrosine kinase (EGFr), and Ha-RasV12. KD-RAF completely inhibited GVBD induced by the RTK pathway. In contrast, KD-RAF did not inhibit GVBD and the progression to Meiosis II in progesterone-treated oocytes. Injection of Mos-specific antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotides inhibited MAPK activation in response to progesterone and Tpr-Met, but failed to inhibit these events in oocytes expressing an oncogenic deletion mutant of Raf-1 (delta N'Raf). Injection of antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotides to Mos also reduced the progesterone- and Tpr-Met-induced electrophoretic mobility shift of Xenopus Raf. These results demonstrate that RTKs and progesterone participate in distinct yet overlapping signaling pathways resulting in the activation of maturation or M-phase promoting factor (MPF). Maturation induced by the RTK pathway requires activation of Raf and MAPK, while progesterone-induced maturation does not. Furthermore, the activation of MAPK in oocytes appears to require the expression of Mos.

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