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The Drosophila MOS ortholog is not essential for meiosis.


Ivanovska IIrena , Lee E Ethan , Kwan KM Kristen M , Fenger DD Douglas D , Orr-Weaver TL Terry L . Current Biology . 2004 1 6; 14(1). 75-80


In metazoan oocytes, a metaphase arrest coordinates the completion of meiosis with fertilization. Vertebrate mos maintains the metaphase II arrest of mature oocytes and prevents DNA replication between the meiotic divisions. We identified a Drosophila homolog of mos and showed it to be the mos ortholog by two additional criteria. The dmos transcripts are present in Drosophila oocytes but not embryos, and injection of dmos into Xenopus embryos blocks mitosis and elevates active MAPK levels. In Drosophila, MAPK is activated in oocytes, consistent with a role in meiosis. We generated deletions of dmos and found that, as in vertebrates, dmos is responsible for the majority of MAPK activation. Unexpectedly, the oocytes that do mature complete meiosis normally and produce fertilized embryos that develop, although there is a reduction in female fertility and loss of some oocytes by apoptosis. Therefore, Drosophila contains a mos ortholog that activates a MAPK cascade during oogenesis and is nonessential for meiosis. This could be because there are redundant pathways regulating meiosis, because residual, low levels of active MAPK are sufficient, or because active MAPK is dispensable for meiosis in Drosophila. These results highlight the complexity of meiotic regulation that evolved to ensure accurate control over the reproductive process.