Mammalian eggs remain arrested at metaphase of the second meiotic division (metII) for an indeterminate time before fertilization. During this period, which can last several hours, the continued attachment of sister chromatids is thought to be achieved by inhibition of the protease separase. Separase is known to be inhibited by binding either securin or Maturation (M-Phase)-Promoting Factor, a heterodimer of CDK1/cyclin B1. However, the relative contribution of securin and CDK/cyclin B1 to sister chromatid attachment during metII arrest has not been assessed. Although there are conditions in which either CDK1/cyclinB1 activity or securin can prevent sister chromatid disjunction, principally by overexpression of non-degradable cyclin B1 or securin, we find here that separase activity is primarily regulated by securin and not CDK1/cyclin B1. Thus the CDK1 inhibitor roscovitine and an antibody we designed to block the interaction of CDK1/cyclin B1 with separase, both failed to induce sister disjunction. In contrast, securin morpholino knockdown specifically induced loss of sister attachment, that could be restored by securin cRNA rescue. During metII arrest separase appears primarily regulated by securin binding, not CDK1/cyclin B1.
Developmental Biology Vol. 321, Issue 2, p. 379-386