The polo-like kinase PLK-1 is required for nuclear envelope breakdown and the completion of meiosis in Caenorhabditis elegans

Genesis. 2000 Jan;26(1):26-41. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1526-968x(200001)26:1<26::aid-gene6>;2-o.


The Polo-like kinases are key regulatory molecules required during the cell cycle for the successful completion of mitosis. We have cloned a C. elegans homolog of the Drosophila melanogaster polo gene (designated plk-1 for C. elegans polo-like kinase-1) and present the subcellular localization of the PLK-1 protein during the meiotic and mitotic cell cycles in C. elegans oocytes and embryos, respectively. Disruption of PLK-1 expression by RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) disrupts normal oocyte and embryonic development. Inspection of oocytes revealed a defect in nuclear envelope breakdown (NEBD) before ovulation. This defect in NEBD was also observed in oocytes that were depleted of the cyclin-dependent kinase NCC-1 (C. elegans homolog of Cdc2). The plk-1 RNAi oocytes were fertilized; however the resulting embryos were unable to separate their meiotic chromosomes or form and extrude polar bodies. These defects led to embryonic arrest as single cells. genesis 26:26-41, 2000. Published 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / enzymology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins*
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / drug effects
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / enzymology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / ultrastructure
  • Enzyme Induction / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects
  • Genes, Helminth
  • Helminth Proteins / genetics
  • Helminth Proteins / physiology*
  • Meiosis / physiology*
  • Mitosis / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Envelope / physiology*
  • Oocytes / enzymology
  • Oocytes / ultrastructure
  • Protein Kinases / deficiency
  • Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Kinases / physiology*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • RNA, Double-Stranded / pharmacology
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Helminth Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • RNA, Double-Stranded
  • cdk-1 protein, C elegans
  • Protein Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • polo-like kinase 1