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Polar body cytokinesis.

Maddox AS, Azoury J, Dumont J

Institut de recherche en immunology et en cancerologie (IRIC), Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada. amy.maddox@umontreal.ca

Polar body cytokinesis is the physical separation of a small polar body from a larger oocyte or ovum. This maternal meiotic division shares many similarities with mitotic and spermatogenic cytokinesis, but there are several distinctions, which will be discussed in this review. We synthesize results from many different model species, including those popular for their genetics and several that are more obscure in modern cell biology. The site of polar body division is determined before anaphase, by the eccentric, cortically associated meiotic spindle. Depending on the species, either the actin or microtubule cytoskeleton is required for spindle anchoring. Chromatin is necessary and sufficient to elicit differentiation of the associated cortex, via Ran-based signaling. The midzone of the anaphase spindle serves as a hub for regulatory complexes that elicit Rho activation, and ultimately actomyosin contractile ring assembly and contraction. Polar body cytokinesis uniquely requires another Rho family GTPase, Cdc42, for dynamic reorganization of the polar cortex. This is perhaps due to the considerable asymmetry of this division, wherein the polar body and the oocyte/ovum have distinct fates and very different sizes. Thus, maternal meiotic cytokinesis appears to occur via simultaneous polar relaxation and equatorial contraction, since the polar body is extruded from the spherical oocyte through the nascent contractile ring. As such, polar body cytokinesis is an interesting and important variation on the theme of cell division.

Cytoskeleton (Hoboken) 2012;69(11):855-68.

Pubmed ID: 22927361

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