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The centromere/kinetochore complex is indispensable for accurate segregation of chromosomes during cell divisions when it serves as the attachment site for spindle microtubules. Centromere identity in metazoans is believed to be governed by epigenetic mechanisms, because the highly repetitive centromeric DNA is neither sufficient nor required for specifying(More)
Chromosome segregation in mammalian oocytes is driven by a microtubule spindle lacking centrosomes. Here, we analyze centrosome-independent spindle assembly by quantitative high-resolution confocal imaging in live maturing mouse oocytes. We show that spindle assembly proceeds by the self-organization of over 80 microtubule organizing centers (MTOCs) that(More)
Intracellular transport is vital for the function, survival and architecture of every eukaryotic cell. Long-range transport in animal cells is thought to depend exclusively on microtubule tracks. This study reveals an unexpected actin-dependent but microtubule-independent mechanism for long-range transport of vesicles. Vesicles organize their own actin(More)
An oocyte matures into an egg by extruding half of the chromosomes in a small polar body. This extremely asymmetric division enables the oocyte to retain sufficient storage material for the development of the embryo after fertilization. To divide asymmetrically, mammalian oocytes relocate the spindle from their center to the cortex. In all mammalian species(More)
In yeast, resolution of chiasmata in meiosis I requires proteolytic cleavage along chromosome arms of cohesin's Rec8 subunit by separase. Since activation of separase by the anaphase-promoting complex (APC/C) is supposedly not required for meiosis I in Xenopus oocytes, it has been suggested that animal cells might resolve chiasmata by a separase-independent(More)
The transition from meiosis to mitosis, classically defined by fertilization, is a fundamental process in development. However, its mechanism remains largely unexplored. In this paper, we report a surprising gradual transition from meiosis to mitosis over the first eight divisions of the mouse embryo. The first cleavages still largely share the mechanism of(More)
Oocytes mature into eggs by extruding half of their chromosomes in a small cell termed the polar body. Asymmetric oocyte division is essential for fertility [1], but despite its importance, little is known about its mechanism. In mammals, the meiotic spindle initially forms close to the center of the oocyte. Thus, two steps are required for asymmetric(More)
Aneuploidy in human eggs is the leading cause of pregnancy loss and several genetic disorders such as Down syndrome. Most aneuploidy results from chromosome segregation errors during the meiotic divisions of an oocyte, the egg's progenitor cell. The basis for particularly error-prone chromosome segregation in human oocytes is not known. We analyzed meiosis(More)
Actin networks drive many essential cellular processes, including cell migration, cytokinesis and tissue morphogenesis. However, how cells organize and regulate dynamic actin networks that consist of long, unbranched actin filaments is only poorly understood. This study in mouse oocytes reveals that cells can use vesicles as adaptable, motorized network(More)
In mammalian oocytes, three actin binding proteins, Formin 2 (Fmn2), Spire, and profilin, synergistically organize a dynamic cytoplasmic actin meshwork that mediates translocation of the spindle toward the cortex and is required for successful fertilization. Here we characterize Fmn2 and elucidate the molecular mechanism for this synergy, using bulk(More)