The Arabidopsis ATK1 gene is required for spindle morphogenesis in male meiosis.

  • Chen C
  • Marcus A
  • Li W
 et al. 
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The spindle plays a central role in chromosome segregation during mitosis and meiosis. In particular, various kinesins are thought to play crucial roles in spindle structure and function in both mitosis and meiosis of fungi and animals. A group of putative kinesins has been previously identified in Arabidopsis, called ATK1-ATK4 (previously known as KATA-KATD), but their in vivo functions have not been tested with genetic studies. We report here the isolation and characterization of a mutant, atk1-1, which has a defective ATK1 gene. The atk1-1 mutant was identified in a collection of Ds transposon insertion lines by its reduced fertility. Reciprocal crosses between the atk1-1 mutant and wild type showed that only male fertility was reduced, not female fertility. Molecular analyses, including revertant studies, indicated that the Ds insertion in the ATK1 gene was responsible for the fertility defect. Light microscopy revealed that, in the atk1-1 mutant, male meiosis was defective, producing an abnormal number of microspores of variable sizes. Further cytological studies indicated that meiotic chromosome segregation and spindle organization were both abnormal in the mutant. Specifically, the atk1-1 mutant male meiotic cells had spindles that were broad, unfocused and multi-axial at the poles at metaphase I, unlike the typical fusiform bipolar spindle found in the wild-type metaphase I cells. Therefore, the ATK1 gene plays a crucial role in spindle morphogenesis in male Arabidopsis meiosis.

Author-supplied keywords

  • arabidopsis thaliana
  • kinesin
  • meiosis
  • spindle

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  • Changbin Chen

  • Adam Marcus

  • Wuxing Li

  • Yi Hu

  • Jean-Philippe Vielle Calzada

  • Ueli Grossniklaus

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