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Plk4 and Aurora A cooperate in the initiation of acentriolar spindle assembly in mammalian oocytes

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Bury, L 
Coelho, PA 
Simeone, A 
Ferries, S 
Eyres, CE 


Establishing the bipolar spindle in mammalian oocytes after their prolonged arrest is crucial for meiotic fidelity and subsequent development. In contrast to somatic cells, the first meiotic spindle assembles in the absence of centriole-containing centrosomes. Ran-GTP can promote microtubule nucleation near chromatin, but additional unidentified factors are postulated for the activity of multiple acentriolar microtubule organizing centers in the oocyte. We now demonstrate that partially overlapping, nonredundant functions of Aurora A and Plk4 kinases contribute to initiate acentriolar meiosis I spindle formation. Loss of microtubule nucleation after simultaneous chemical inhibition of both kinases can be significantly rescued by drug-resistant Aurora A alone. Drug-resistant Plk4 can enhance Aurora A–mediated rescue, and, accordingly, Plk4 can phosphorylate and potentiate the activity of Aurora A in vitro. Both kinases function distinctly from Ran, which amplifies microtubule growth. We conclude that Aurora A and Plk4 are rate-limiting factors contributing to microtubule growth as the acentriolar oocyte resumes meiosis.



Animals, Aurora Kinase A, Cells, Cultured, Centrioles, Embryo Culture Techniques, Female, Kinetics, Meiosis, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Inbred CBA, Microtubules, Oocytes, Phosphorylation, Protein Kinase Inhibitors, Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases, Signal Transduction, ran GTP-Binding Protein

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The Journal of Cell Biology

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Rockefeller University Press
Cancer Research UK (18795)
L. Bury was the recipient of a Cancer Research UK research studentship from Cambridge Cancer Centre. P.A. Coelho is supported by Cancer Research UK program grant C3/A18795 to D.M. Glover. M. Zernicka-Goetz is a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow. P.A. Eyers acknowledges North West Cancer Research for additional support (grants CR1037 and CR1088).