Lateral and End-On Kinetochore Attachments Are Coordinated to Achieve Bi-orientation in Drosophila Oocytes

PLoS Genet. 2015 Oct 16;11(10):e1005605. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005605. eCollection 2015 Oct.


In oocytes, where centrosomes are absent, the chromosomes direct the assembly of a bipolar spindle. Interactions between chromosomes and microtubules are essential for both spindle formation and chromosome segregation, but the nature and function of these interactions is not clear. We have examined oocytes lacking two kinetochore proteins, NDC80 and SPC105R, and a centromere-associated motor protein, CENP-E, to characterize the impact of kinetochore-microtubule attachments on spindle assembly and chromosome segregation in Drosophila oocytes. We found that the initiation of spindle assembly results from chromosome-microtubule interactions that are kinetochore-independent. Stabilization of the spindle, however, depends on both central spindle and kinetochore components. This stabilization coincides with changes in kinetochore-microtubule attachments and bi-orientation of homologs. We propose that the bi-orientation process begins with the kinetochores moving laterally along central spindle microtubules towards their minus ends. This movement depends on SPC105R, can occur in the absence of NDC80, and is antagonized by plus-end directed forces from the CENP-E motor. End-on kinetochore-microtubule attachments that depend on NDC80 are required to stabilize bi-orientation of homologs. A surprising finding was that SPC105R but not NDC80 is required for co-orientation of sister centromeres at meiosis I. Together, these results demonstrate that, in oocytes, kinetochore-dependent and -independent chromosome-microtubule attachments work together to promote the accurate segregation of chromosomes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Centrosome / metabolism
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / genetics*
  • Chromosome Segregation / genetics
  • Chromosomes / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Kinetochores*
  • Meiosis / genetics
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / genetics*
  • Microtubules / genetics
  • Oocytes / growth & development
  • Spindle Apparatus / genetics


  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Ndc80 protein, Drosophila
  • Spc105R protein, Drosophila
  • centromere protein E