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J Cell Biol. 2007 Sep 24;178(7):1177-91.

Control of nuclear centration in the C. elegans zygote by receptor-independent Galpha signaling and myosin II.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA.


Mitotic spindle positioning in the Caenorhabditis elegans zygote involves microtubule-dependent pulling forces applied to centrosomes. In this study, we investigate the role of actomyosin in centration, the movement of the nucleus-centrosome complex (NCC) to the cell center. We find that the rate of wild-type centration depends equally on the nonmuscle myosin II NMY-2 and the Galpha proteins GOA-1/GPA-16. In centration- defective let-99(-) mutant zygotes, GOA-1/GPA-16 and NMY-2 act abnormally to oppose centration. This suggests that LET-99 determines the direction of a force on the NCC that is promoted by Galpha signaling and actomyosin. During wild-type centration, NMY-2-GFP aggregates anterior to the NCC tend to move further anterior, suggesting that actomyosin contraction could pull the NCC. In GOA-1/GPA-16-depleted zygotes, NMY-2 aggregate displacement is reduced and largely randomized, whereas in a let-99(-) mutant, NMY-2 aggregates tend to make large posterior displacements. These results suggest that Galpha signaling and LET-99 control centration by regulating polarized actomyosin contraction.

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