Spindle dynamics during meiosis in Drosophila oocytes.
Mature oocytes of Drosophila are arrested in metaphase of meiosis I. Upon activation by ovulation or fertilization, oocytes undergo a series of rapid changes that have not been directly visualized previously. We report here the use of the Nonclaret disjunctional (Ncd) microtubule motor protein fused to the green fluorescent protein (GFP) to monitor changes in the meiotic spindle of live oocytes after activation in vitro. Meiotic spindles of metaphase-arrested oocytes are relatively stable, however, meiotic spindles of in vitro-activated oocytes are highly dynamic: the spindles elongate, rotate around their long axis, and undergo an acute pivoting movement to reorient perpendicular to the oocyte surface. Many oocytes spontaneously complete the meiotic divisions, permitting visualization of progression from meiosis I to II. The movements of the spindle after oocyte activation provide new information about the dynamic changes in the spindle that occur upon re-entry into meiosis and completion of the meiotic divisions. Spindles in live oocytes mutant for a loss-of-function ncd allele fused to gfp were also imaged. The genesis of spindle defects in the live mutant oocytes provides new insights into the mechanism of Ncd function in the spindle during the meiotic divisions.
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