Int. J. Dev. Biol. 60: 193 - 200 (2016)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.160348jk
© UPV/EHU Press

MPF, starfish oocyte and cell-free extract in the background - an interview with Takeo Kishimoto

Jacek Z. Kubiak*,1,2 and Takeo Kishimoto*,3

1CNRS, UMR 6290, Institute of Genetics and Development of Rennes, Cell Cycle Group, Rennes, France, 2University Rennes 1, UEB, IFR 140, Faculty of Medicine, Rennes, France and 3Ochanomizu University, Science & Education Center, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan

ABSTRACT Professor Takeo Kishimoto’s research has an enormous impact on the cell cycle field. Although his favorite model has always been a starfish oocyte, he has used many other model organisms in his research. Cell-free extracts have been wildly used in his laboratory as a very useful tool to answer cell cycle research questions. Recently, professor Kishimoto discovered the identity of the M-phase promoting factor (MPF) that was thought for years to be cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1). However, Takeo Kishimoto found that MPF consists in fact of two kinases: CDK1 and Greatwall kinase. While CDK1 phosphorylates mitotic substrates, Greatwall kinase allows these substrates to persist in their phosphorylated state because it regulates phosphatase PP2A, which dephosphorylates the majority of CDK1 substrates. When I started to interview Prof. Kishimoto, I was mostly interested in his experiences with cell-free extracts. However, as you will see below we almost immediately turned to the problem of the identity of MPF. This is fully understandable because the identity of MPF seems to be a major interest in Takeo’s scientific career. I hope readers will enjoy this interview and will be able to learn about many aspects of scientific research, which do not usually appear in regular research papers.

Keywords:

CDK1, Cdc2, p34, Greatwall kinase, PP2A, cell cycle, cyclin B, oocyte maturation, MPF

*Corresponding author e-mail: jacek.kubiak@univ-rennes1.fr ; kishimoto.takeo@ocha.ac.jp