The protein encoded by this gene is a member of kinesin-like protein family. Proteins of this family are microtubule-dependent molecular motors that transport organelles within cells and move chromosomes during cell division. This protein is important for anaphase chromosome segregation and may be required to coordinate the onset of sister centromere separation. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Cell death/survival, Cell cycle regulation, Cell proliferation, DNA binding
MCAK is present at centromeres, midspindle and chiasmata and involved in silencing of the spindle assembly checkpoint in mammalian oocytes. Vogt E et al. Mitotic Centromere Associated Kinesin (MCAK) is an ATP-dependent microtubule depolymerase regulated by Aurora kinase phosphorylation and implicated in resolution of improper microtubule attachments in mitosis. Distribution of MCAK was studied in oocyte maturation by anti-MCAK-, anti-tubulin-, anti-Aurora kinase B (AURKB)- and anti-centromere (ACA)-antibody and by expression of MCAK-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) fusion protein in maturing mouse oocytes. Function was assessed by knockdown of MCAK and Mad2, by inhibiting Aurora kinase or the proteasome, by live imaging with polarisation microscope, and by chromosomal analysis. The results show that MCAK is transiently recruited to the nucleus and transits to spindle poles, ACA-positive domains and chiasmata at prometaphase I. At metaphase I and II it is present at centrosomes and centromeres next to AURKB and checkpoint proteins Mad2 and BubR1. It is retained at centromeres at telophase I and also at the midbody. Knockdown of MCAK causes a delay in chromosome congression but does not prevent bipolar spindle assembly. MCAK-knockdown also induces a meiosis I arrest, which is overcome by knockdown of Mad2 resulting in chiasma resolution, chromosome separation, formation of aberrant meiosis II spindles and increased hypoploidy. In conclusion, MCAK appears to possess a unique distribution and function in oocyte maturation. It is required for meiotic progression from meiosis I to meiosis II associated with silencing of the spindle assembly checkpoint. Alterations in abundance and activity of MCAK, as implicated in aged oocytes, may therefore contribute to loss of control of cell cycle and chromosome behaviour, thus inceasing risk for errors in chromosome segregation and aneuploidy.
Aurora B regulates spindle bipolarity in meiosis in vertebrate oocytes. Shao H et al. Aurora B (Aur-B) plays multiple roles in mitosis, of which the best known are to ensure bi-orientation of sister chromatids by destabilizing incorrectly attached kinetochore microtubules and to participate in cytokinesis. Studies in Xenopus egg extracts, however, have indicated that Aur-B and the chromosome passenger complex play an important role in stabilizing chromosome-associated spindle microtubules. Aur-B stabilizes spindle microtubules in the egg extracts by inhibiting the catastrophe kinesin MCAK. Whether or not Aur-B plays a similar role in intact oocytes remains unknown. Here we have employed a dominant-negative Aur-B mutant (Aur-B122R, in which the ATP-binding lysine ( 122) is replaced with arginine) to investigate the function of Aur-B in spindle assembly in Xenopus oocytes undergoing meiosis. Overexpression of Aur-B122R results in short bipolar spindles or monopolar spindles, with higher concentrations of Aur-B122R producing mostly the latter. Simultaneous inhibition of MCAK translation in oocytes overexpressing Aur-B122R results in suppression of monopolar phenotype, suggesting that Aur-B regulates spindle bipolarity by inhibiting MCAK. Furthermore, recombinant MCAK-4A protein, which lacks all four Aur-B phosphoryaltion sites and is therefore insensitive to Aur-B inhibition but not wild-type MCAK, recapitulated the monopolar phenotype in the oocytes. These results suggest that in vertebrate oocytes that lack centrosomes, one major function of Aur-B is to stabilize chromosome-associated spindle microtubules to ensure spindle bipolarity.
Expression regulated by
Slow freezing and vitrification differentially modify the gene expression profile of human metaphase II oocytes. Monzo C et al. BACKGROUNDCryopreservation is now considered as an efficient way to store human oocytes to preserve fertility. However, little is known about the effects of this technology on oocyte gene expression. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of the two cryopreservation procedures, slow freezing and vitrification, on the gene expression profile of human metaphase II (MII) oocytes.METHODSUnfertilized MII oocytes following ICSI failure were cryopreserved either by slow freezing or by the Cryotip method for vitrification. After thawing, total RNA was extracted and analyzed using Affymetrix Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 GeneChip arrays. The gene expression profiles and associated biological pathways in slowly frozen/thawed and vitrified MII oocytes were determined and compared with those of non-cryopreserved MII oocytes used as controls.RESULTSBoth cryopreservation procedures negatively affected the gene expression profile of human MII oocytes in comparison with controls. However, slowly frozen and vitrified MI oocytes displayed specific gene expression signatures. Slow freezing was associated with down-regulation of genes involved in chromosomal structure maintenance (KIF2C and KIF3A) and cell cycle regulation (CHEK2 and CDKN1B) that may lead to a reduction in the oocyte developmental competence. In vitrified oocytes, many genes of the ubiquitination pathway were down-regulated, including members of the ubiquitin-specific peptidase family and subunits of the 26S proteasome. Such inhibition of the degradation machinery might stabilize the maternal protein content that is necessary for oocyte developmental competence.CONCLUSIONSThe low pregnancy rates commonly observed when using human MII oocytes after slow freezing-thawing may be explained by the alterations of the oocyte gene expression profile.
Genomewide discovery and classification of candidate ovarian fertility genes in the mouse. Gallardo TD et al. Female infertility syndromes are among the most prevalent chronic health disorders in women, but their genetic basis remains unknown because of uncertainty regarding the number and identity of ovarian factors controlling the assembly, preservation, and maturation of ovarian follicles. To systematically discover ovarian fertility genes en masse, we employed a mouse model (Foxo3) in which follicles are assembled normally but then undergo synchronous activation. We developed a microarray-based approach for the systematic discovery of tissue-specific genes and, by applying it to Foxo3 ovaries and other samples, defined a surprisingly large set of ovarian factors (n = 348, approximately 1% of the mouse genome). This set included the vast majority of known ovarian factors, 44% of which when mutated produce female sterility phenotypes, but most were novel. Comparative profiling of other tissues, including microdissected oocytes and somatic cells, revealed distinct gene classes and provided new insights into oogenesis and ovarian function, demonstrating the utility of our approach for tissue-specific gene discovery. This study will thus facilitate comprehensive analyses of follicle development, ovarian function, and female infertility. This is an oocyte-specific gene.
Species: mouse -
type: fertility: subfertile Comment: Chromosomal and cytoplasmic context determines predisposition to maternal age-related aneuploidy: brief overview and update on MCAK in mammalian oocytes. Eichenlaub-Ritter U et al. It has been known for more than half a century that the risk of conceiving a child with trisomy increases with advanced maternal age. However, the origin of the high susceptibility to nondisjunction of whole chromosomes and precocious separation of sister chromatids, leading to aneuploidy in aged oocytes and embryos derived from them, cannot be traced back to a single disturbance and mechanism. Instead, analysis of recombination patterns of meiotic chromosomes of spread oocytes from embryonal ovary, and of origins and exchange patterns of extra chromosomes in trisomies, as well as morphological and molecular studies of oocytes and somatic cells from young and aged females, show chromosome-specific risk patterns and cellular aberrations related to the chronological age of the female. In addition, analysis of the function of meiotic- and cell-cycle-regulating genes in oogenesis, and the study of the spindle and chromosomal status of maturing oocytes, suggest that several events contribute synergistically to errors in chromosome segregation in aged oocytes in a chromosome-specific fashion. For instance, loss of cohesion may differentially predispose chromosomes with distal or pericentromeric chiasmata to nondisjunction. Studies on expression in young and aged oocytes from human or model organisms, like the mouse, indicate that the presence and functionality/activity of gene products involved in cell-cycle regulation, spindle formation and organelle integrity may be altered in aged oocytes, thus contributing to a high risk of error in chromosome segregation in meiosis I and II. Genes that are often altered in aged mouse oocytes include MCAK (mitotic-centromere-associated protein), a microtubule depolymerase, and AURKB (Aurora kinase B), a protein of the chromosomal passenger complex that has many targets and can also phosphorylate and regulate MCAK localization and activity. Therefore we explored the role of MCAK in maturing mouse oocytes by immunofluorescence, overexpression of a MCAK-EGFP (enhanced green fluorescent protein) fusion protein, knockdown of MCAK by RNAi (RNA interference) and inhibition of AURKB. The observations suggest that MCAK is involved in spindle regulation, chromosome congression and cell-cycle control, and that reductions in mRNA and protein in a context of permissive SAC (spindle assembly checkpoint) predispose to aneuploidy. Failure to recruit MCAK to centromeres and low expression patterns, as well as disturbances in regulation of enzyme localization and activity, e.g. due to alterations in activity of AURKB, may therefore contribute to maternal age-related rises in aneuploidy in mammalian oocytes.