Germline cysts are conserved structures in which cells initiating meiosis are interconnected by ring canals. In many species, the cyst phase is of limited duration, but the chordate, Oikopleura, maintains it throughout prophase I as a unique cell, the coenocyst. We show that despite sharing one common cytoplasm with meiotic and nurse nuclei evenly distributed in a 1:1 ratio, both entry into meiosis and subsequent endocycles of nurse nuclei were asynchronous. Coenocyst cytoskeletal elements played central roles as oogenesis progressed from a syncytial state of indistinguishable germ nuclei, to a final arrangement where the common cytoplasm had been equally partitioned into resolved, mature oocytes. During chromosomal bouquet formation in zygotene, nuclear pore complexes clustered and anchored meiotic nuclei to the coenocyst F-actin network opposite ring canals, polarizing oocytes early in prophase I. F-actin synthesis was required for oocyte growth but movement of cytoplasmic organelles into oocytes did not require cargo transport along colchicine-sensitive microtubules. Instead, microtubules maintained nurse nuclei on the F-actin scaffold and prevented their entry into growing oocytes. Finally, it was possible to both decouple meiotic progression from cellular mechanisms governing oocyte growth, and to advance the timing of oocyte growth in response to external cues. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Ganot, P., Kallesøe, T., & Thompson, E. M. (2007). The cytoskeleton organizes germ nuclei with divergent fates and asynchronous cycles in a common cytoplasm during oogenesis in the chordate Oikopleura. Developmental Biology, 302(2), 577–590. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.10.022