MEI-1/MEI-2 katanin-like microtubule severing activity is required for Caenorhabditis elegans meiosis

Martin Srayko, Dan W. Buster, Omar A. Bazirgan, Francis J. McNally, Paul E. Mains

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


The Caenorhabditis elegans meiotic spindle is morphologically distinct from the first mitotic spindle, yet both structures form in the same cytoplasm ~20 minutes apart. The mei-1 and mei-2 genes of C. elegans are required for the establishment of the oocyte meiotic spindle but are not required for mitotic spindle function. mei-1 encodes an AAA ATPase family member with similarity to the p60 catalytic subunit of the heterodimeric sea urchin microtubule-severing protein, katanin. We report that mei-2 encodes a 280-amino acid protein containing a region similar to the p80-targeting subunit of katanin. MEI-1 and MEI-2 antibodies decorate the polar ends of meiotic spindle microtubules and meiotic chromatin. We find that the subcellular location of MEI-2 depends on wild-type mei-1 activity and vice versa. These experiments, combined with MEI-1 and MEI-2's similarity to p60 and p80 katanin, suggest that the C. elegans proteins function as a complex. In support of this idea, MEI-1 and MEI-2 physically associate in HeLa cells. Furthermore, co-expression of MEI-1 and MEI-2 in HeLa cells results in the disassembly of microtubules. These data lead us to conclude that MEI-1/MEI-2 microtubule-severing activity is required for meiotic spindle organization in C. elegans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1072-1084
Number of pages13
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2000


  • AAA protein
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Katanin
  • Meiotic spindle
  • Microtubule-severing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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