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What is MPF?

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  • 0:00 Review of the Cell Cycle
  • 1:20 Maturation Promoting Factor
  • 3:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Gilley
Maturation promoting factor (MPF) is a protein complex that lets your cells know when it's time to divide and make a new cell. This lesson will review the cell cycle and discuss how MPF functions as a cell cycle checkpoint.

Review of the Cell Cycle

Our bodies are controlled by the activities of trillions of cells. And just like everything else that's alive, our cells get old and eventually die. However, our bodies have a way of replacing cells that can be used for growth, development and tissue repair within the body. When it's time for a new cell to be made, the cell cycle acts as an internal cellular clock and guides the cell through cell division. The main purpose of the cell cycle is to regulate how and when a cell makes a copy of itself.

There are four stages in the cell cycle, two of which allow the cell to grow in size, including the Gap 1 and Gap 2 or G1 and G2 phases. The most important stages are the synthesis or S phase, in which a cell makes a copy of its DNA, and the mitosis or M phase, which is where the cell actually makes a copy of itself. The cell cycle is regulated by checkpoints, which makes sure the cell is ready to move onto the next stage of the cell cycle. Once a cell reaches a checkpoint, the checkpoint will determine whether or not the cell is able to move forward. If something has gone wrong in the previous stage, or if there are cellular abnormalities, the checkpoint will prevent the cell from moving onto the next phase. Therefore, these checkpoints ensure that only normal, healthy cells are capable of making new cells.

Maturation Promoting Factor

Maturation promoting factor (MPF) is a cell cycle checkpoint that regulates the passage of a cell from the G2 growth phase to the M phase. It is also known as the G2 checkpoint, and ensures that DNA replication during the S phase did not produce any mistakes. It also makes sure that the cell grew enough during the G2 stage. If the processes in the S and G2 phases went according to plan, and no abnormalities are present within the cell, then MPF will allow the cell to progress to the M phase, where it will make a copy of itself.

Like most cell cycle checkpoints, MPF is a complex of proteins that must be present together before the cell can move from one stage to the next. Specifically, MPF is composed of the proteins cyklin dependent kinase (Cdk) and cyclin. Cdk is an enzymatic protein whose concentration is constant throughout all four stages of the cell cycle. Cyclin, on the other hand, is a protein whose concentration varies, depending on the stage of the cell cycle. In other words, it is only present during certain stages of the cycle.

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