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Microtubule reorganization during female meiosis in C. elegans

  • Most female meiotic spindles undergo striking morphological changes while transitioning from metaphase to anaphase. The ultra-structure of meiotic spindles, and how changes to this structure correlate with such dramatic spindle rearrangements remains largely unknown. To address this, we applied light microscopy, large-scale electron tomography and mathematical modeling of female meiotic \textit{Caenorhabditis elegans} spindles. Combining these approaches, we find that meiotic spindles are dynamic arrays of short microtubules that turn over within seconds. The results show that the metaphase to anaphase transition correlates with an increase in microtubule numbers and a decrease in their average length. Detailed analysis of the tomographic data revealed that the microtubule length changes significantly during the metaphase-to-anaphase transition. This effect is most pronounced for microtubules located within 150 nm of the chromosome surface. To understand the mechanisms that drive this transition, we developed a mathematical model for the microtubule length distribution that considers microtubule growth, catastrophe, and severing. Using Bayesian inference to compare model predictions and data, we find that microtubule turn-over is the major driver of the spindle reorganizations. Our data suggest that in metaphase only a minor fraction of microtubules, those closest to the chromosomes, are severed. The large majority of microtubules, which are not in close contact with chromosomes, do not undergo severing. Instead, their length distribution is fully explained by growth and catastrophe. This suggests that the most prominent drivers of spindle rearrangements are changes in nucleation and catastrophe rate. In addition, we provide evidence that microtubule severing is dependent on katanin.

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Author:Ina Lantzsch, Che-Hang Yu, Yu-Zen Chen, Vitaly Zimyanin, Hossein Yazdkhasti, Norbert Lindow, Erik Szentgyoergyi, Ariel M Pani, Steffen Prohaska, Martin Srayko, Sebastian Fürthauer, Stefanie Redemann
Document Type:Article
Parent Title (English):eLife
First Page:e58903
Year of first publication:2021
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