July 26, 2010

Meiosis is a special type of cell division that results in the formation of gametes (sperm and eggs). Meiosis is made of two rounds of division that ultimately results in half the chromosomes, so that there is an accurate number of chromosomes after fertilization of the gametes. A recent paper describes an important role for a kinase called Aurora-C in ensuring accurate chromosome segregation in meiosis. Image above shows metaphase of the first meiotic division in control (left) and Aurora-C-deficient (right) mouse oocytes. Microtubules are in green, DNA is in blue, and kinetochores are in red in both whole oocyte (top) and zoomed in images of the spindles (bottom). In the Aurora-C-deficient oocyte, there is aberrant chromosome alignment and attachment to the spindle.

Reference: Kuo-Tai Yang, Shu-Kuei Li, Chih-Chieh Chang, Chieh-Ju C. Tang, Yi-Nan Lin, Sheng-Chung Lee, and Tang K. Tang. Authors’ Molecular Biology of the Cell paper can be found here.

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