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PLoS Genet. 2007 Nov;3(11):e202.

Developmental role and regulation of cortex, a meiosis-specific anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome activator.

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Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America.


During oogenesis in metazoans, the meiotic divisions must be coordinated with development of the oocyte to ensure successful fertilization and subsequent embryogenesis. The ways in which the mitotic machinery is specialized for meiosis are not fully understood. cortex, which encodes a putative female meiosis-specific anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) activator, is required for proper meiosis in Drosophila. We demonstrate that CORT physically associates with core subunits of the APC/C in ovaries. APC/C(CORT) targets Cyclin A for degradation prior to the metaphase I arrest, while Cyclins B and B3 are not targeted until after egg activation. We investigate the regulation of CORT and find that CORT protein is specifically expressed during the meiotic divisions in the oocyte. Polyadenylation of cort mRNA is correlated with appearance of CORT protein at oocyte maturation, while deadenylation of cort mRNA occurs in the early embryo. CORT protein is targeted for degradation by the APC/C following egg activation, and this degradation is dependent on an intact D-box in the C terminus of CORT. Our studies reveal the mechanism for developmental regulation of an APC/C activator and suggest it is one strategy for control of the female meiotic cell cycle in a multicellular organism.

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Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests. The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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