Metaphase to anaphase (mat) transition-defective mutants in Caenorhabditis elegans

A. Golden, P. L. Sadler, M. R. Wallenfang, J. M. Schumacher, D. R. Hamill, G. Bates, B. Bowerman, G. Seydoux, D. C. Shakes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


The metaphase to anaphase transition is a critical stage of the eukaryotic cell cycle, and, thus, it is highly regulated. Errors during this transition can lead to chromosome segregation defects and death of the organism. In genetic screens for temperature-sensitive maternal effect embryonic lethal (Mel) mutants, we have identified 32 mutants in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans in which fertilized embryos arrest as one-cell embryos. In these mutant embryos, the oocyte chromosomes arrest in metaphase of meiosis I without transitioning to anaphase or producing polar bodies. An additional block in M phase exit is evidenced by the failure to form pronuclei and the persistence of phosphohistone H3 and MPM-2 antibody staining. Spermatocyte meiosis is also perturbed; primary spermatocytes arrest in metaphase of meiosis I and fail to produce secondary spermatocytes. Analogous mitotic defects cause M phase delays in mitotic germline proliferation. We have named this class of mutants "mat" for metaphase to anaphase transition defective. These mutants, representing six different complementation groups, all map near genes that encode subunits of the anaphase promoting complex or cyclosome, and, here, we show that one of the genes, emb-27, encodes the C. elegans CDC16 ortholog.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1469-1482
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 31 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaphase promoting complex
  • C. elegans
  • Cell cycle
  • Meiosis
  • Metaphase arrest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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