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Curr Biol. 2000 Oct 19;10(20):1303-6.

Asymmetric division in mouse oocytes: with or without Mos.

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Biologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire du Developpement, UMR 7622, CNRS/Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France.


In both vertebrates and invertebrates, meiotic divisions in oocytes are typically asymmetric, resulting in the formation of a large oocyte and small polar bodies. The size difference between the daughter cells is usually a consequence of asymmetric positioning of the spindle before cytokinesis. Spindle movements are often related to interactions between the cell cortex and the spindle asters [1,2]. The spindles of mammalian oocytes are, however, typically devoid of astral microtubules, which normally connect the spindle to the cortex, suggesting that another mechanism is responsible for the unequal divisions in these oocytes. We observed the formation of the first polar body in wild-type oocytes and oocytes derived from c-Mos knockout mice [3]. In wild-type oocytes, the meiotic spindle formed in the centre of the cell and migrated to the cortex just before polar-body extrusion. The spindle did not elongate during anaphase. In mos-/- oocytes, the spindle formed centrally but did not migrate, although an asymmetric division still took place. In these oocytes, the spindle elongated during anaphase and the pole closest to the cortex moved while the other remained in place. Thus, a compensation mechanism exists in mouse oocytes and formation of the first polar body can be achieved in two ways: either after migration of the spindle to the cortex in wild-type oocytes, or after elongation, without migration, of the first meiotic spindle in mos-/- oocytes.

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