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Mol Reprod Dev. 2011 Oct-Nov;78(10-11):769-77. doi: 10.1002/mrd.21358. Epub 2011 Jul 19.

The spatial and mechanical challenges of female meiosis.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA. jpevans@jhsph.edu

Abstract

Recent work shows that cytokinesis and other cellular morphogenesis events are tuned by an interplay among biochemical signals, cell shape, and cellular mechanics. In cytokinesis, this includes cross-talk between the cortical cytoskeleton and the mitotic spindle in coordination with cell cycle control, resulting in characteristic changes in cellular morphology and mechanics through metaphase and cytokinesis. The changes in cellular mechanics affect not just overall cell shape, but also mitotic spindle morphology and function. This review will address how these principles apply to oocytes undergoing the asymmetric cell divisions of meiosis I and II. The biochemical signals that regulate cell cycle timing during meiotic maturation and egg activation are crucial for temporal control of meiosis. Spatial control of the meiotic divisions is also important, ensuring that the chromosomes are segregated evenly and that meiotic division is clearly asymmetric, yielding two daughter cells - oocyte and polar body - with enormous volume differences. In contrast to mitotic cells, the oocyte does not undergo overt changes in cell shape with its progression through meiosis, but instead maintains a relatively round morphology with the exception of very localized changes at the time of polar body emission. Placement of the metaphase-I and -II spindles at the oocyte periphery is clearly important for normal polar body emission, although this is likely not the only control element. Here, consideration is given to how cellular mechanics could contribute to successful mammalian female meiosis, ultimately affecting egg quality and competence to form a healthy embryo.

PMID:
21774026
PMCID:
PMC3196790
DOI:
10.1002/mrd.21358
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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