RanGTP is required for meiotic spindle organization and the initiation of embryonic development in Drosophila

Cesario, J, McKim KS.  2011.  


J Cell Sci

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RanGTP is important for chromosome-dependent spindle assembly in Xenopus extracts. Here we report on experiments to determine the role of the Ran pathway on microtubule dynamics in Drosophila oocytes and embryos. Females expressing a dominant-negative form of Ran have fertility defects, suggesting that RanGTP is required for normal fertility. This is not, however, because of a defect in acentrosomal meiotic spindle assembly. Therefore, RanGTP does not appear to be essential or sufficient for the formation of the acentrosomal spindle. Instead, the most important function of the Ran pathway in spindle assembly appears to be in the tapering of microtubules at the spindle poles, which might be through regulation of proteins such as TACC and the HURP homolog, Mars. One consequence of this spindle organization defect is an increase in the nondisjunction of achiasmate chromosomes. However, the meiotic defects are not severe enough to cause the decreased fertility. Reductions in fertility occur because RanGTP has a role in microtubule assembly that is not directly nucleated by the chromosomes. This includes microtubules nucleated from the sperm aster, which are required for pronuclear fusion. We propose that following nuclear envelope breakdown, RanGTP is released from the nucleus and creates a cytoplasm that is activated for assembling microtubules, which is important for processes such as pronuclear fusion. Around the chromosomes, however, RanGTP might be redundant with other factors such as the chromosome passenger complex.


GM 067142/GM/NIGMS NIH HHS/United StatesJournal ArticleResearch Support, N.I.H., ExtramuralResearch Support, Non-U.S. Gov'tEngland

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Cesario, J, McKim KS.  2011.  RanGTP is required for meiotic spindle organization and the initiation of embryonic development in Drosophila. J Cell Sci. 124:3797-810.