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Published August 29, 2017 | Published + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Delayed APC/C activation extends the first mitosis of mouse embryos


The correct temporal regulation of mitosis underpins genomic stability because it ensures the alignment of chromosomes on the mitotic spindle that is required for their proper segregation to the two daughter cells. Crucially, sister chromatid separation must be delayed until all the chromosomes have attached to the spindle; this is achieved by the Spindle Assembly Checkpoint (SAC) that inhibits the Anaphase Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C) ubiquitin ligase. In many species the first embryonic M-phase is significantly prolonged compared to the subsequent divisions, but the reason behind this has remained unclear. Here, we show that the first M-phase in the mouse embryo is significantly extended due to a delay in APC/C activation. Unlike in somatic cells, where the APC/C first targets cyclin A2 for degradation at nuclear envelope breakdown (NEBD), we find that in zygotes cyclin A2 remains stable for a significant period of time after NEBD. Our findings that the SAC prevents cyclin A2 degradation, whereas over-expressed Plk1 stimulates it, support our conclusion that the delay in cyclin A2 degradation is caused by low APC/C activity. As a consequence of delayed APC/C activation cyclin B1 stability in the first mitosis is also prolonged, leading to the unusual length of the first M-phase.

Additional Information

© The Author(s) 2017. Open Access - This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Received 30 January 2017. Accepted 29 June 2017. Published 29 August 2017. We would like to thank Aleksander Chlebowski and Drs Takao Ishikawa and Robert Milewski for their valuable assistance. We are grateful to the Wellcome Trust, which supported this work. AA was a beneficiary of the Kolumb programme and the subsequent Kolumb supporting grant of the Foundation for Polish Science. MZG is supported by the Wellcome Trust. Author Contributions: A.A. designed and conducted the experiments and wrote the manuscript. B.S. conducted the experiments and reviewed the manuscript. M.Z.-G. and J.P. designed the experiments and wrote the manuscript. The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023