Regulation of the paternal inheritance of centrosomes in starfish zygotes

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In most animals, fertilized eggs inherit one centrosome from a meiosis-II spindle of oocytes and another centrosome from the sperm. However, since first proposed by Boveri [Sitzungsber. Ges. Morph. Phys. Münch. 3 (1887) 151-164] at the turn of the last century, it has been believed that only the paternal (sperm) centrosome provides the division poles for mitosis in animal zygotes. This uniparental (paternal) inheritance of centrosomes is logically based on the premise that the maternal (egg) centrosome is lost before the onset of the first mitosis. For the processes of the selective loss of the maternal centrosome, three models have been proposed: One stresses the intrinsic factors within the centrosome itself; the other two emphasize external factors such as cytoplasmic conditions or the sperm centrosome. In the present study, we have examined the validity of one of the models in which the sperm centrosome overwhelms the maternal centrosomes. Because centrosomes cast off into both the first and the second polar bodies (PB) are known to retain the capacity for reproduction and cell-division pole formation, we observed the behavior of those PB centrosomes with reproductive capacity and the sperm centrosome in the same zygotic cytoplasm. We prepared two kinds of fertilized eggs that contain reproductive maternal centrosomes, (1) by micromanipulative transplantation of the PB centrosomes into fertilized eggs, and (2) by suppression of the PB extrusions of fertilized eggs with cytochalasin B. In both types of eggs, the PB centrosomes could double and form cell-division poles, indicating that they are not suppressed by the sperm centrosome, which in turn indicates that selective loss of the maternal centrosome is due to intrinsic factors within the centrosomes themselves. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




Zhang, Q. Y., Tamura, M., Uetake, Y., Washitani-Nemoto, S., & Nemoto, S. I. (2004). Regulation of the paternal inheritance of centrosomes in starfish zygotes. Developmental Biology, 266(1), 190–200.

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