Chaigne Agathe - prix de thèse du journal Le Monde

Cortical stiffness: a gatekeeper for spindle positioning in mouse oocytes

Abstract: Meiotic divisions are highly asymmetric divisions in size, generating a big cell, the oocyte, and two tiny cells, the polar bodies. This asymmetry is ensured by the migration of the first meiotic spindle to the closest cortex. This migration does not depend on microtubules but on Myosin-II and an F-actin meshwork nucleated by cooperation of straight filament nucleators Formin-2 and Spire1/2. Preliminary studies in the lab described a thickening of the F-actin cortex during spindle migration, but paradoxically cortical tension, a physical parameter describing the stiffness of the cell, drops during spindle migration. I have shown that this thickening is required for spindle migration and nucleated by the branched actin nucleator Arp2/3, under the control of the Mos/MAPK pathway. Furthermore, it promotes the decrease in cortical tension by triggering the delocalization of Myosin-II from the oocyte cortex, which is crucial for spindle migration. Finally, I have shown that the drop in cortical tension is an amplificatory mechanism to the initial unbalance of forces (due to a slight off-centered position of the nucleus) triggering the motion of the spindle.

Keywords: F-actin, cortical tension, Meiosis I, asymmetric division

Agathe Chaigne

Elle est l'une des onze lauréats du 18e prix Le Monde de la recherche universitaire, pour ses travaux sur la division asymétrique des ovules.


The Prize-giving


F-actin Spindle MI Green Magenta


Building a Soft Cortex , a Prerequisite for Asymmetric Division