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Evolutionary comparisons reveal a positional switch for spindle pole oscillations in Caenorhabditis embryos.

Soizic Riche, Melissa Zouak, Francoise Argoul, Alain Arneodo, Jacques Pecreaux, and Marie Delattre (2013)

J Cell Biol, 201(5):653-62.

During the first embryonic division in Caenorhabditis elegans, the mitotic spindle is pulled toward the posterior pole of the cell and undergoes vigorous transverse oscillations. We identified variations in spindle trajectories by analyzing the outwardly similar one-cell stage embryo of its close relative Caenorhabditis briggsae. Compared with C. elegans, C. briggsae embryos exhibit an anterior shifting of nuclei in prophase and reduced anaphase spindle oscillations. By combining physical perturbations and mutant analysis in both species, we show that differences can be explained by interspecies changes in the regulation of the cortical Galpha-GPR-LIN-5 complex. However, we found that in both species (1) a conserved positional switch controls the onset of spindle oscillations, (2) GPR posterior localization may set this positional switch, and(3) the maximum amplitude of spindle oscillations is determined by the time spent in the oscillating phase. By investigating microevolution of a subcellular process, we identify new mechanisms that are instrumental to decipher spindle positioning.

 
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