Editors' ChoiceCell Division

Unfair Partitioning

Science's STKE  29 Jul 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 193, pp. tw298-TW298
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.193.tw298

During early development in the nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, zygotes divide unequally because the first mitotic spindle is displaced off-center by the pull of stronger forces on its posterior end. Grill et al. investigated whether this asymmetry is caused by differences in strength, number, or spatial positioning of the force generators (presumably cortical motors) that pull on the microtubules. They determined the distribution of force generators in a living C. elegans embryo while the spindle was becoming displaced to one side of the embryo by destroying the centrosome and analyzing the movement of resulting aster fragments toward the cortex. They found that more force-generating elements are available for the posterior spindle pole.

S. W. Grill, J. Howard, E. Schäffer, E. H. K. Stelzer, A. A. Hyman, The distribution of active force generators controls mitotic spindle position. Science 301, 518-521 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]