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Dev Biol. 2007 Dec 1;312(1):44-60. Epub 2007 Sep 7.

The zebrafish maternal-effect gene cellular atoll encodes the centriolar component sas-6 and defects in its paternal function promote whole genome duplication.

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Laboratory of Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.


A female-sterile zebrafish maternal-effect mutation in cellular atoll (cea) results in defects in the initiation of cell division starting at the second cell division cycle. This phenomenon is caused by defects in centrosome duplication, which in turn affect the formation of a bipolar spindle. We show that cea encodes the centriolar coiled-coil protein Sas-6, and that zebrafish Cea/Sas-6 protein localizes to centrosomes. cea also has a genetic paternal contribution, which when mutated results in an arrested first cell division followed by normal cleavage. Our data supports the idea that, in zebrafish, paternally inherited centrosomes are required for the first cell division while maternally derived factors are required for centrosomal duplication and cell divisions in subsequent cell cycles. DNA synthesis ensues in the absence of centrosome duplication, and the one-cycle delay in the first cell division caused by cea mutant sperm leads to whole genome duplication. We discuss the potential implications of these findings with regards to the origin of polyploidization in animal species. In addition, the uncoupling of developmental time and cell division count caused by the cea mutation suggests the presence of a time window, normally corresponding to the first two cell cycles, which is permissive for germ plasm recruitment.

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