Geometry and force behind kinetochore orientation: lessons from meiosis

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2012 May 16;13(6):370-82. doi: 10.1038/nrm3349.


During mitosis, replicated chromosomes (sister chromatids) become attached at the kinetochore by spindle microtubules emanating from opposite poles and segregate equationally. In the first division of meiosis, however, sister chromatids become attached from the same pole and co-segregate, whereas homologous chromosomes connected by chiasmata segregate to opposite poles. Disorder in this specialized chromosome attachment in meiosis is the leading cause of miscarriage in humans. Recent studies have elucidated the molecular mechanisms determining chromosome orientation, and consequently segregation, in meiosis. Comparative studies of meiosis and mitosis have led to the general principle that kinetochore geometry and tension exerted by microtubules synergistically generate chromosome orientation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology
  • Chromosomes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kinetochores / physiology*
  • Meiosis*
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Models, Biological