Editors' ChoiceDevelopment

Generating Biological Oscillations

Science's STKE  11 May 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 232, pp. tw170-TW170
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2322004TW170

Biochemical oscillations exist in nature; however, relatively little is known about the molecular circuits underlying these oscillations. An example of such an oscillation is found in the periodic pulses of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) in Dictyostelium during development. Components of this oscillation include the cAMP receptor, adenylyl cyclase, extracellular phosphodiesterase, intracellular phosphodiesterase, cAMP-dependent protein kinase, and mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase 4. Maeda et al. provide experimental data to further elucidate the circuitry and show that phosphodiesterase RegA is directly regulated by the phosphorylating activity of the MAP kinase ERK2. Simulations show that the circuit would be effective in producing oscillations over a sustained period.

M. Maeda, S. Lu, G. Shaulsky, Y. Miyazaki, H. Kuwayama, Y. Tanaka, A. Kuspa, W. F. Loomis, Periodic signaling controlled by an oscillatory circuit that includes protein kinases ERK2 and PKA. Science 304, 875-878 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]