Purpose: We have previously found that microinjection of activated MEK (mitogen activated kinase kinase) and ERK (mitogen-activated protein; MAP kinase) fails to induce oocyte maturation, but that maturation, induced by oncogenic ras-p21 and insulin-activated cell ras-p21, is blocked by peptides from the ras-binding domain of raf. We also found that jun kinase (JNK), on the stress-activated protein (SAP) pathway, which is critical to the oncogenic ras-p21 signal transduction pathway, is a strong inducer of oocyte maturation. Our purpose in this study was to determine the role of the raf- MEK-MAP kinase pathway in oocyte maturation and how it interacts with JNK from the SAP pathway. Methods: We microinjected raf dominant negative mutant mRNA (DN-raf) and the MEK-specific phosphatase, MKP-T4, either together with oncogenic p21 or c-raf mRNA, into oocytes or into oocytes incubated with insulin to determine the effects of these raf-MEK-MAP kinase pathway inhibitors. Results: We found that oocyte maturation induced by both oncogenic and activated normal p21 is inhibited by both DN-raf and by MKP-T4. The latter more strongly blocks the oncogenic pathway. Also an mRNA encoding a constitutively activated MEK strongly induces oocyte maturation that is not inhibited by DN-raf or by MKP-T4. Surprisingly, we found that oocyte maturation induced by JNK is blocked both by DN-raf and MKP-T4. Furthermore, we discovered that c-raf induces oocyte maturation that is inhibited by glutathione-S-transferase (GST), which we have found to be a potent and selective inhibitor of JNK. Conclusion: We conclude that there is a strong reciprocal interaction between the SAP pathway involving JNK and the raf-MEK- MAP kinase pathway and that oncogenic ras-p21 can be preferentially inhibited by MEK inhibitors. The results imply that blockade of both MEK and JNK- oncogenic ras-p21 interactions may constitute selective synergistic combination chemotherapy against oncogenic ras-induced tumors.
- Dominant negative mutant of raf
- Oncogenic ras-p21
- Oocyte maturation