An improved Erk biosensor reveals oscillatory Erk dynamics driven by mitotic erasure during early development

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Erk signaling dynamics elicit distinct cellular responses in a variety of contexts. The early zebrafish embryo is an ideal model to explore the role of Erk signaling dynamics in vivo , as a gradient of activated diphosphorylated Erk (P-Erk) is induced by Fgf signaling at the blastula embryonic margin. Here we describe an improved Erk-specific biosensor which we term modified Erk Kinase Translocation Reporter (modErk-KTR). We demonstrate the utility of this biosensor in vitro and in developing zebrafish and Drosophila embryos. Moreover, we show that Fgf/Erk signaling is dynamic and coupled to tissue growth during both early zebrafish and Drosophila development. Signaling is rapidly extinguished just prior to mitosis, which we refer to as mitotic erasure, inducing periods of inactivity, thus providing a source of heterogeneity in an asynchronously dividing tissue. Our modified reporter and transgenic lines represent an important resource for interrogating the role of Erk signaling dynamics in vivo .

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  1. Excerpt

    Want Erk-cellent representation of Erk signalling dynamics? Wilcockson and authors explore an improved biosensor that faithfully reports Erk activity without being impacted by Cdk1