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Nature. 1990 May 3;345(6270):81-3.

Mediation of meiotic and early mitotic chromosome segregation in Drosophila by a protein related to kinesin.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710.


Contrary to the traditional view that microtubules pull chromosomes polewards during the anaphase stage of meiotic and mitotic cell divisions, new evidence suggests that the chromosome movements are driven by a motor located at the kinetochore. The process of chromosome segregation involves proper arrangement of kinetochores for spindle attachment, followed by spindle attachment and chromosome movement. Mechanisms in Drosophila for chromosome segregation in meiosis differ in males and females, implying the action of different gene products in the two sexes. A product encoded at the claret locus in Drosophila is required for normal chromosome segregation in meiosis in females and in early mitotic divisions of the embryo. Here we show that the predicted amino-acid sequence of this product is related to the heavy chain of kinesin. The conserved region corresponds to the kinesin motor domain and includes the ATP-binding site and a region that can bind microtubules. A second region contains a leucine repeat motif which may mediate protein-subunit interactions necessary for attachment of chromosomes to the spindle. The mutant phenotype of chromosome nondisjunction and loss, and its similarity to the kinesin ATP-binding domain, suggest that the product encoded at claret not only stabilizes chromosome attachments to the spindle, but may also be a motor that drives chromosome segregation in female meiosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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