Molecular mechanisms underlying the mitosis-meiosis decision.

Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-0033, Japan.
Chromosome Research (Impact Factor: 2.69). 02/2007; 15(5):523-37. DOI: 10.1007/s10577-007-1151-0
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Most eukaryotic cells possess genetic potential to perform meiosis, but the vast majority of them never initiate it. The entry to meiosis is strictly regulated by developmental and environmental conditions, which vary significantly from species to species. Molecular mechanisms underlying the mitosis-meiosis decision are unclear in most organisms, except for a few model systems including fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Nutrient limitation is a cue to the entry into meiosis in this microbe. Signals from nutrients converge on the activity of Mei2 protein, which plays pivotal roles in both induction and progression of meiosis. Here we outline the current knowledge of how a set of environmental stimuli eventually activates Mei2, and discuss how Mei2 governs the meiotic program molecularly, especially focusing on a recent finding that Mei2 antagonizes selective elimination of meiotic messenger RNAs.

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Yuriko Harigaya