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Science 302 (5647): 1038-1041

Copyright © 2003 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Suspended Animation in C. elegans Requires the Spindle Checkpoint

Todd G. Nystul,1,2* Jesse P. Goldmark,1,2* Pamela A. Padilla,3* Mark B. Roth1{dagger}

Abstract: In response to environmental signals such as anoxia, many organisms enter a state of suspended animation, an extreme form of quiescence in which microscopically visible movement ceases. We have identified a gene, san-1, that is required for suspended animation in Caenorhabditis elegans embryos. We show that san-1 functions as a spindle checkpoint component in C. elegans. During anoxia-induced suspended animation, embryos lacking functional SAN-1 or a second spindle checkpoint component, MDF-2, failed to arrest the cell cycle, exhibited chromosome missegregation, and showed reduced viability. These data provide a model for how a dynamic biological process is arrested in suspended animation.

1 Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.
2 Molecular and Cellular Biology Program, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.
3 Department of Biological Sciences, University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203, USA.

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* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: mroth{at}fhcrc.org


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