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In meiosis, two specialized cell divisions allow the separation of paired chromosomes first, then of sister chromatids. Separase removes the cohesin complex holding sister chromatids together in a stepwise manner from chromosome arms in meiosis I, then from the centromere region in meiosis II. Using mouse oocytes, our study reveals that cyclin A2 promotes entry into meiosis, as well as an additional unexpected role; namely, its requirement for separase-dependent sister chromatid separation in meiosis II. Untimely cyclin A2-associated kinase activity in meiosis I leads to precocious sister separation, whereas inhibition of cyclin A2 in meiosis II prevents it. Accordingly, endogenous cyclin A is localized to kinetochores throughout meiosis II, but not in anaphase I. Additionally, we found that cyclin B1, but not cyclin A2, inhibits separase in meiosis I. These findings indicate that separase-dependent cohesin removal is differentially regulated by cyclin B1 and A2 in mammalian meiosis.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Reports

Publication Date





1077 - 1087