Proper chromosome segregation is essential to avoid aneuploidy, yet this process fails with increasing age in mammalian oocytes. Here we report a role for the scarcely described protein CENP-V in oocyte spindle formation and chromosome segregation. We show that depending on the oocyte maturation state, CENP-V localizes to centromeres, to microtubule organizing centers, and to spindle microtubules. We find that Cenp-V-/- oocytes feature severe deficiencies, including metaphase I arrest, strongly reduced polar body extrusion, increased numbers of mis-aligned chromosomes and aneuploidy, multipolar spindles, unfocused spindle poles and loss of kinetochore spindle fibres. We also show that CENP-V protein binds, diffuses along, and bundles microtubules in vitro. The spindle assembly checkpoint arrests about half of metaphase I Cenp-V-/- oocytes from young adults only. This finding suggests checkpoint weakening in ageing oocytes, which mature despite carrying mis-aligned chromosomes. Thus, CENP-V is a microtubule bundling protein crucial to faithful oocyte meiosis, and Cenp-V-/- oocytes reveal age-dependent weakening of the spindle assembly checkpoint.
© 2021. The Author(s).