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Suspended Animation in C. elegans Requires the Spindle Checkpoint

Science  07 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5647, pp. 1038-1041
DOI: 10.1126/science.1089705

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Abstract

In response to environmental signals such as anoxia, many organisms enter a state of suspended animation, an extreme form of quiescence in which microscopically visible movement ceases. We have identified a gene, san-1, that is required for suspended animation in Caenorhabditis elegans embryos. We show that san-1 functions as a spindle checkpoint component in C. elegans. During anoxia-induced suspended animation, embryos lacking functional SAN-1 or a second spindle checkpoint component, MDF-2, failed to arrest the cell cycle, exhibited chromosome missegregation, and showed reduced viability. These data provide a model for how a dynamic biological process is arrested in suspended animation.

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