The cdc25 gene product is a tyrosine phosphatase that acts as an initiator of M-phase in eukaryotic cell cycles by activating p34cdc2. Here we describe the cloning and characterization of the developmental expression pattern of two mouse cdc25 homologs. Sequence comparison of the mouse genes with human CDC25 genes reveal that they are most likely the mouse homologs of human CDC25A and CDC25B respectively. Mouse cdc25a, which has not been described previously, shares 84% sequence identity with human CDC25A and has a highly conserved phosphatase domain characteristic of all cdc25 genes. A glutathione-S-transferase-cdc25a fusion protein can hydrolyze para-nitro-phenylphosphate confirming that cdc25a is a phosphatase. In adult mice, cdc25a transcripts are expressed at high levels in the testis and at lower levels in the ovary, particularly in germ cells; a pattern similar to that of twn, a Drosophila homolog of cdc25. Lower levels of transcript are also observed in kidney, liver, heart and muscle, a transcription pattern that partially overlaps, but is distinct from that of cdc25b. Similarly, in the postimplantation embryo cdc25a transcripts are expressed in a pattern that differs from that of cdc25b. cdc25a expression is observed in most developing embryonic organs while cdc25b expression is more restricted. An extended analysis of cdc25a and cdc25b expression in preimplantation embryos has also been carried out. These studies reveal that cdc25b transcripts are expressed in the one-cell embryo, decline at the two-cell stage and are re-expressed at the four-cell stage, following the switch from maternal to zygotic transcription which mirrors the expression of string, another Drosophila homolog of cdc25. In comparison, cdc25a is not expressed in the preimplantation embryo until the late blastocyst stage of development, correlating with the establishment of a more typical G1 phase in the embryonic cell cycles. Both cdc25a and cdc25b transcripts are expressed at high levels in the inner cell mass and the trophectoderm, which proliferate rapidly prior to implantation. These data suggest the cdc25 genes may have distinct roles in regulating the pattern of cell division during mouse embryogensis and gametogenesis.

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