Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Prog Mol Subcell Biol. 2007;45:97-120.

Asymmetric divisions of germline cells.

Author information

  • 1Medical Research Council, LMCB, Cell biology unit, University College London, Gower street, WC1E 6BT London, UK.


In most vertebrates and invertebrates, germ cells produce female and male gametes after one or several rounds of asymmetric cell division. Germline-specific features are used for the asymmetric segregation of fates, chromosomes and size during gametogenesis. In Drosophila females, for example, a germline-specific organelle called the fusome is used repeatedly to polarize the divisions of germline stem cells for their self-renewal, and during the divisions of cyst cells for the specification of the oocyte among a group of sister cells sharing a common cytoplasm. Later during oogenesis of most species, meiotic divisions produce a striking size asymmetry between a large oocyte and small polar bodies. The strategy used to create this asymmetry may involve the microtubules or the actin microfilaments or both, depending on the considered species. Despite this diversity and species-particularities, recent molecular data suggest that the PAR proteins, which control asymmetric cell division in a wide range of organisms and somatic cell types, could also play an important role at different steps of gametogenesis in many species. Here, we review the asymmetric features of germline cell division, from mitosis of germline stem cells to the extrusion of polar bodies after meiotic divisions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

LinkOut - more resources

Molecular Biology Databases

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk