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Science. 2016 Jul 1;353(6294):aaf4866. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf4866. Epub 2016 May 26.

A mechanism for the elimination of the female gamete centrosome in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Rua da Quinta Grande, 2780-156 Oeiras, Portugal.
Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Rua da Quinta Grande, 2780-156 Oeiras, Portugal.


An important feature of fertilization is the asymmetric inheritance of centrioles. In most species it is the sperm that contributes the initial centriole, which builds the first centrosome that is essential for early development. However, given that centrioles are thought to be exceptionally stable structures, the mechanism behind centriole disappearance in the female germ line remains elusive and paradoxical. We elucidated a program for centriole maintenance in fruit flies, led by Polo kinase and the pericentriolar matrix (PCM): The PCM is down-regulated in the female germ line during oogenesis, which results in centriole loss. Perturbing this program prevents centriole loss, leading to abnormal meiotic and mitotic divisions, and thus to female sterility. This mechanism challenges the view that centrioles are intrinsically stable structures and reveals general functions for Polo kinase and the PCM in centriole maintenance. We propose that regulation of this maintenance program is essential for successful sexual reproduction and defines centriole life span in different tissues in homeostasis and disease, thereby shaping the cytoskeleton.

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