Centrosome inheritance in insects: fertilization and parthenogenesis

Biol Cell. May-Jun 1999;91(4-5):355-66.


Centrosome biogenesis is unclear, although much structural and biochemical research has been performed in several experimental systems. An alternative model to study the assembly of functional centrosomes could be the process of zygotic centrosome formation at the beginning of embryonic development. Although it seems obvious that the sperm cell provides the centrosome at fertilization, some pieces of evidence are not in line with this point of view and give controversial results. Such an analysis could provide useful information if applied to a large variety of organisms. Since insects are a highly diverse group of organisms they provide a variety of models in which to study the process of centrosome reconstitution during fertilization. Moreover, many insect species reproduce by parthenogenesis, a special mode of reproduction in which embryonic development occurs without male contribution. Studies of unfertilized parthenogenetic eggs may therefore teach us much about the process of centrosome assembly in the absence of preexisting centrioles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Centrosome / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fertilization
  • Insecta / genetics
  • Insecta / physiology*
  • Male
  • Ovum / ultrastructure
  • Parthenogenesis
  • Spermatozoa / ultrastructure