, Volume 67, Issue 3, pp 433-465

Interaction of the IP3-Ca2+ and MAPK signaling systems in the Xenopus blastomere: A possible frequency encoding mechanism for the control of the Xbra gene expression

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Abstract

The intense periodic calcium activity experimentally observed in the Xenopus embryo at the Mid Blastula Transition stage is closely related to the competence of the embryonic cells of the marginal zone to respond to the posterior-mesodermal inducting signals from the Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF). In this work we do a stability analysis and study numerically an extension of a mathematical model previously introduced by us [Díaz, J., Baier, G., Martínez-Mekler, G., Pastor, N., 2002. Interaction of the IP3-Ca2+ and the FGF-MAPK signaling pathways in the Xenopus laevis embryo: a qualitative approach to the mesodermal induction problem. Biophys. Chem. 97, 55–72] for the interaction of the Inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate-Calcium (IP3-Ca2+) and the Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways at the Mid Blastula Transition stage or stage 8 of development. This allows us to consider the effect of the oscillatory calcium dynamics on the FGF input signal carried by the MAP kinase (ERK) into the nucleus. We find that this interaction of the pathways induces a limit cycle behavior for ERK with frequency-encoding characteristics. We believe that this periodic increase of the ERK levels in the nucleus is related to the ability of the cell to express posteriorizing mesodermal features induced by the FGF signal at stage 8.