The elegans of spindle assembly

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2010 Jul;67(13):2195-213. doi: 10.1007/s00018-010-0324-8. Epub 2010 Mar 26.


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 types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Centrioles / physiology
  • Centrosome / physiology
  • Katanin
  • Meiosis
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Mitosis
  • Spindle Apparatus / physiology*


  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • Katanin