Processes that occur before second cleavage determine third cleavage orientation in Xenopus

James M. Valles, Sarah R.R.M. Wasserman, Caterina Schweidenback, Jill Edwardson, James M. Denegre, Kimberly L. Mowry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


As in many organisms, the first three cleavage planes of Xenopus laevis eggs form in a well-described mutually orthogonal geometry. The factors dictating this simple pattern have not been unambiguously identified. Here, we describe experiments, using static magnetic fields as a novel approach to perturb normal cleavage geometry, that provide new insight into these factors. We show that a magnetic field applied during either or both of the first two cell cycles can induce the third cell cycle mitotic apparatus (MA) at metaphase and the third cleavage plane to align nearly perpendicular to their nominal orientations without changing cell shape. These results indicate that processes occurring during the first two cell cycles primarily dictate the third cleavage plane and mitotic apparatus orientation. We discuss how mechanisms that can align the MA after it has formed are likely to be of secondary importance in determining cleavage geometry in this system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-118
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental cell research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Centrosomes
  • Cleavage
  • Magnetic field
  • Mitosis
  • Mitotic apparatus alignment
  • Xenopus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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