A typical centrosome consists of a pair of centrioles embedded in a proteinous matrix called pericentriolar material. However, the centrosomes in the mouse oocytes and early embryos lack centrioles, but consist of the -tubulin-enriched vesicle aggregates. We previously revealed that Nek2 and centrobin/Nip2, a centrosomal substrate of Nek2, is critical for the mouse early embryogenesis, especially at the step of spindle assembly during mitosis. In order to expand our understanding of the biological functions of Nek2, we examined expression and knockdown phenotypes of Nek2 and its substrates, centrobin and C-Nap1, in the mouse oocyte. Nek2, centrobin and C-Nap1 in the mouse oocytes were also centrosomal. Suppression of Nek2 and its substrates did not affect meiotic resumption of the oocytes. However, meiosis of the Nek2- and centrobin-suppressed oocytes was not completed, but arrested with defects in spindle assembly. No visible phenotype was observed in the C-Nap1-suppressed oocytes. These results indicate that Nek2 is critical for proper assembly of the meiotic spindles. Centrobin may be a possible substrate of Nek2 responsible for the meiotic spindle assembly in the mouse oocytes.
- Spindle assembly