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Dev Cell. 2007 Feb;12(2):309-17.

Rac activity is polarized and regulates meiotic spindle stability and anchoring in mammalian oocytes.

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Department of Physiology, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.


Mammalian meiotic divisions are asymmetrical and generate a large oocyte and two small polar bodies. This asymmetry results from the anchoring of the meiotic spindle to the oocyte cortex and subsequent cortical reorganization, but the mechanisms involved are poorly understood. We investigated the role of Rac in oocyte meiosis by using a fluorescent reporter for Rac-GTP. We find that Rac-GTP is polarized in the cortex overlying the meiotic spindle. Polarization of Rac activation occurs during spindle migration and is promoted by the proximity of chromatin to the cortex. Inhibition of Rac during oocyte maturation caused a permanent block at prometaphase I and spindle elongation. In metaphase II-arrested oocytes, Rac inhibition caused the spindle to detach from the cortex and prevented polar body emission after activation. These results demonstrate that Rac-GTP plays a major role in oocyte meiosis, via the regulation of spindle stability and anchoring to the cortex.

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