Kinetochores are considered to be the key structures that physically connect spindle microtubules to the chromosomes and play an important role in chromosome segregation during mitosis. Due to different mechanisms of spindle assembly between centrosome-containing mitotic cells and acentrosomal meiotic oocytes, it is unclear how a meiotic spindle generates the poleward forces to drive two rounds of meiotic chromosome segregation to achieve genome haploidization. We took advantage of the fact that DNA beads are able to induce bipolar spindle formation without kinetochores and studied the behavior of DNA beads in the induced spindle in mouse eggs during meiosis II. Interestingly, DNA beads underwent poleward movements that were similar in timing and speed to the meiotic chromosomes, although all the beads moved together to the same spindle pole. Disruption of dynein function abolished the poleward movements of DNA beads but not of the meiotic chromosomes, suggesting the existence of different dynein-dependent and dynein-independent force generation mechanisms for the chromosome poleward movement, and the latter may be dependent on the presence of kinetochores. Consistent with the observed DNA bead poleward movement, sperm haploid chromatin (which also induced bipolar spindle formation after injection to a metaphase egg without forming detectable kinetochore structures) also underwent similar poleward movement at anaphase as DNA beads. The results suggest that in the chromatin-induced meiotic spindles, kinetochore attachments to spindle microtubules are not absolutely required for chromatin poleward movements at anaphase.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences