Previous efforts have shown that mutations in the Drosophila ZW10 gene cause massive chromosome missegregation during mitotic divisions in several tissues. Here we demonstrate that mutations in ZW10 also disrupt chromosome behavior in male meiosis I and meiosis II, indicating that ZW10 function is common to both equational and reductional divisions. Divisions are apparently normal before anaphase onset, but ZW10 mutants exhibit lagging chromosomes and irregular chromosome segregation at anaphase. Chromosome missegregation during meiosis I of these mutants is not caused by precocious separation of sister chromatids, but rather the nondisjunction of homologs. ZW10 is first visible during prometaphase, where it localizes to the kinetochores of the bivalent chromosomes (during meiosis I) or to the sister kinetochores of dyads (during meiosis II). During metaphase of both divisions, ZW10 appears to move from the kinetochores and to spread toward the poles along what appear to be kinetochore microtubules. Redistributions of ZW10 at metaphase require bipolar attachments of individual chromosomes or paired bivalents to the spindle. At the onset of anaphase I or anaphase II, ZW10 rapidly relocalizes to the kinetochore regions of the separating chromosomes. In other mutant backgrounds in which chromosomes lag during anaphase, the presence or absence of ZW10 at a particular kinetochore predicts whether or not the chromosome moves appropriately to the spindle poles. We propose that ZW10 acts as part of, or immediately downstream of, a tension-sensing mechanism that regulates chromosome separation or movement at anaphase onset.

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