Asymmetric meiotic divisions in oocytes rely on spindle positioning in close vicinity to the cortex. In metaphase II mouse oocytes, eccentric spindle positioning triggers cortical polarization, including the build-up of an actin cap surrounded by a ring of activated myosin II. While the role of the actin cap in promoting polar body formation is established, ring myosin II activation mechanisms and functions have remained elusive. Here, we show that ring myosin II activation requires myotonic dystrophy kinase-related Cdc42-binding kinase (MRCK), downstream of polarized Cdc42. MRCK inhibition resulted in spindle rotation defects during anaphase II, precluding polar body extrusion. Remarkably, disengagement of segregated chromatids from the anaphase spindle could rescue rotation. We further show that the MRCK/myosin II pathway is activated in the fertilization cone and is required for male pronucleus migration toward the center of the zygote. These findings provide novel insights into the mechanism of myosin II activation in oocytes and its role in orchestrating asymmetric division and pronucleus centration.

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