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Chromosoma. 1998 Dec;107(6-7):440-51.

The POLO kinase is required at multiple stages during spermatogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade do Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre 823, P-4150 Porto, Portugal.


The polo gene of Drosophila melanogaster is the founding member of the polo-like kinase family which is conserved among eukaryotes. POLO has been implicated in the organisation and function of the mitotic apparatus. Furthermore, POLO has been shown to be required for normal spermatogenesis. To characterize further the role of POLO in spermatogenesis, polo mutants were analysed by immunostaining with specific antibodies and phase contrast microscopy. Immunofluorescence shows that POLO localises to the centrosomes, the centromere/kinetochore and the spindle midzone. The meiotic phenotype of various mutant allelic combinations was also studied in detail. Observation of mutant live testes indicates cytological abnormalities in all meiotic cell types, including variable DNA content and multipolar spindles. Primary spermatocytes in polo mutant testes contain an abnormal DNA content, suggesting failure of chromosome segregation during gonial division. Immunostaining of polo mutant cells with alpha-tubulin shows several abnormalities of the meiotic spindle, including a significantly reduced central spindle. Our results suggest that polo has multiple functions during spermatogenesis.

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