A cdk1 gradient guides surface contraction waves in oocytes

Johanna Bischof, Christoph A. Brand, Kálmán Somogyi, Imre Májer, Sarah Thome, Masashi Mori, Ulrich S. Schwarz, Péter Lénárt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


Surface contraction waves (SCWs) in oocytes and embryos lead to large-scale shape changes coupled to cell cycle transitions and are spatially coordinated with the cell axis. Here, we show that SCWs in the starfish oocyte are generated by a traveling band of myosin II-driven cortical contractility. At the front of the band, contractility is activated by removal of cdk1 inhibition of the RhoA/RhoA kinase/myosin II signaling module, while at the rear, contractility is switched off by negative feedback originating downstream of RhoA kinase. The SCW's directionality and speed are controlled by a spatiotemporal gradient of cdk1-cyclinB. This gradient is formed by the release of cdk1-cyclinB from the asymmetrically located nucleus, and progressive degradation of cyclinB. By combining quantitative imaging, biochemical and mechanical perturbations with mathematical modeling, we demonstrate that the SCWs result from the spatiotemporal integration of two conserved regulatory modules, cdk1-cyclinB for cell cycle regulation and RhoA/Rok/NMYII for actomyosin contractility.

Original languageEnglish
Article number849
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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    Bischof, J., Brand, C. A., Somogyi, K., Májer, I., Thome, S., Mori, M., Schwarz, U. S., & Lénárt, P. (2017). A cdk1 gradient guides surface contraction waves in oocytes. Nature communications, 8(1), [849]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-00979-6