The temporal and spatial distribution of the proliferation associated Ki-67 protein during female and male meiosis

Walther Traut*, Elmar Endl, Thomas Scholzen, Johannes Gerdes, Heinz Winking

*Corresponding author for this work
19 Citations (Scopus)


We used immunolocalization in tissue sections and cytogenetic preparations of female and male gonads to study the distribution of the proliferation marker pKi-67 during meiotic cell cycles of the house mouse, Mus musculus. During male meiosis, pKi-67 was continuously present in nuclei of all stages from the spermatogonium through spermatocytes I and II up to the earliest spermatid stage (early round spermatids) when it appeared to fade out. It was not detected in later spermatid stages or sperm. During female meiosis, pKi-67 was present in prophase I oocytes of fetal ovaries. It was absent in oocytes from newborn mice and most oocytes of primordial follicles from adults. The Ki-67 protein reappeared in oocytes of growing follicles and was continuously present up to metaphase II. Thus, pKi-67 was present in all stages of cell growth and cell division while it was absent from resting oocytes and during the main stages of spermiocytogenesis. Progression through the meiotic cell cycle was associated with extensive intranuclear relocation of pKi-67. In the zygotene and pachytene stages, most of the pKi-67 colocalized with centromeric (centric and pericentric) heterochromatin and adjacent nucleoli; the heterochromatic XY body in male pachytene, however, was free of pKi-67. At early diplotene, pKi-67 was mainly associated with nucleoli. At late diplotene, diakinesis, metaphase I and metaphase II of meiosis, pKi-67 preferentially bound to the perichromosomal layer and was almost absent from the heterochromatic centromeric regions of the chromosomes. After the second division of male meiosis, the protein reappeared at the centromeric heterochromatin and an adjacent region in the earliest spermatid stage and then faded out. The general patterns of pKi-67 distribution were comparable to those in mitotic cell cycles. With respect to the timing, it is interesting to note that relocation from the nucleolus to the perichromosomal layer takes place at the G2/M-phase transition in the mitotic cell cycle but at late diplotene of prophase I in meiosis, suggesting physiological similarity of these stages.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)156-164
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2002


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