The C elegans Centrosome during Early Embryonic Development

Laurence Pelletier, Thomas Müller-Reichert, Martin Srayko, Nurhan Özlü, Anne-Lore Schlaitz and Anthony A. Hyman

Abbreviations y-TuRC, y-tubulin ring complexes; y-TuSC, y-tubulin small complexes; AP, anterior-posterior axis; dsRNA, double-stranded RNA; EM, electron microscope; FRAP, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching; GFP, green fluorescent protein; LR, left-right axis; MT, microtubules; MTOC, microtubule organizing center; PCM, pericentriolar material; RNAi, RNA-mediated interference; WT, wild-type


Although more than 100 years have passed since Theodor Boveri gave the centrosome its name [1], the understanding of its structure, composition and function still remains in a state of infancy. This chapter will focus on recent advances made in understanding centrosome function and biogenesis using the nematode C. elegans as an experimental system. The role of the centrosome in determining the asymmetry of the early C. elegans embryo will also be discussed. We will first focus on the reasons that motivated the choice of C. elegans as a system to study centrosome function. This will be followed by a detailed description of the first cell division of the C. elegans zygote, the stage at which most of the research on the C. elegans centrosomes to date has been performed.

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