Murine erythroleukemia (MEL) cells were exposed to a high pressure of 80 MPa or aphidicolin (APH), DNA polymerase inhibitor. The effects of caffeine on cell cycle were examined using these cells. During the culture of 80 MPa-treated MEL cells at atmospheric pressure, the cells arrested in the G2 phase, and cyclin B and hyperphosphorylated p34(cdc2) were accumulated. Namely, maturation promoting factor (MPF) composed of p34(cdc2) and cyclin B was inactive. However, upon exposure to caffeine, these cells entered prematurely into mitosis by activating MPF. Caffeine-induced premature mitosis was suppressed by butyrolactone I and orthovanadate. On the other hand, APH-treated MEL cells, which were not exposed to 80 MPa, were not so sensitive to caffeine-induced premature mitosis despite cyclin B accumulation. In this case, dephosphorylation of p34(cdc2) was not induced by caffeine. Interestingly, caffeine-induced premature mitosis in the 80 MPa-treated cells was also suppressed by APH. These results suggest that the premature mitosis of 80 MPa-treated MEL cells by caffeine is induced by active MPF, and that APH-sensitive molecules such as DNA polymerase may also play an important role in the checkpoint that controls the transition from G2 to M phase.
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