Anastral spindle assembly and γ-tubulin in Drosophila oocytes.
BACKGROUND: Anastral spindles assemble by a mechanism that involves microtubule nucleation and growth from chromatin. It is still uncertain whether γ-tubulin, a microtubule nucleator essential for mitotic spindle assembly and maintenance, plays a role. Not only is the requirement for γ-tubulin to form anastral Drosophila oocyte meiosis I spindles controversial, but its presence in oocyte meiosis I spindles has not been demonstrated and is uncertain. RESULTS: We show, for the first time, using a bright GFP fusion protein and live imaging, that the Drosophila maternally-expressed γTub37C is present at low levels in oocyte meiosis I spindles. Despite this, we find that formation of bipolar meiosis I spindles does not require functional γTub37C, extending previous findings by others. Fluorescence photobleaching assays show rapid recovery of γTub37C in the meiosis I spindle, similar to the cytoplasm, indicating weak binding by γTub37C to spindles, and fits of a new, potentially more accurate model for fluorescence recovery yield kinetic parameters consistent with transient, diffusional binding. CONCLUSIONS: The FRAP results, together with its mutant effects late in meiosis I, indicate that γTub37C may perform a role subsequent to metaphase I, rather than nucleating microtubules for meiosis I spindle formation. Weak binding to the meiosis I spindle could stabilize pre-existing microtubules or position γ-tubulin for function during meiosis II spindle assembly, which follows rapidly upon oocyte activation and completion of the meiosis I division.
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