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A novel microtubule nucleation pathway for meiotic spindle assembly in oocytes

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number8
Early online date7 Aug 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Aug 2018


The meiotic spindle in oocytes is assembled in the absence of centrosomes, the major microtubule nucleation sites in mitotic and male meiotic cells. A crucial, yet unresolved question in meiosis is how spindle microtubules are generated without centrosomes and only around chromosomes in the exceptionally large volume of oocytes. Here we report a novel oocyte-specific microtubule nucleation pathway that is essential for assembling most spindle microtubules complementarily with the Augmin pathway. This pathway is mediated by the kinesin-6 Subito/MKlp2, which recruits the γ-tubulin complex to the spindle equator to nucleate microtubules in Drosophila oocytes. Away from chromosomes, Subito interaction with the γ-tubulin complex is suppressed by its N-terminal region to prevent ectopic microtubule assembly in oocytes. We further demonstrate in vitro that the Subito complex from ovaries can nucleate microtubules from pure tubulin dimers. Collectively, microtubule nucleation regulated by Subito drives spatially restricted spindle assembly in oocytes.

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