The elegans of spindle assembly. Academic Article uri icon


  • The Caenorhabditis elegans one-cell embryo is a powerful system in which to study microtubule organization because this large cell assembles both meiotic and mitotic spindles within the same cytoplasm over the course of 1 h in a stereotypical manner. The fertilized oocyte assembles two consecutive acentrosomal meiotic spindles that function to reduce the replicated maternal diploid set of chromosomes to a single-copy haploid set. The resulting maternal DNA then unites with the paternal DNA to form a zygotic diploid complement, around which a centrosome-based mitotic spindle forms. The early C. elegans embryo is amenable to live-cell imaging and electron tomography, permitting a detailed structural comparison of the meiotic and mitotic modes of spindle assembly.

publication date

  • July 2010