The repetitive sequences of DNA centromeric regions form the structural basis for kinetochore assembly. Recently they were found to be transcriptionally active in mitosis, with their RNAs providing noncoding functions. Here we explore the role, in mouse oocytes, of transcripts generated from within the minor satellite repeats. Depletion of minor satellite transcripts delayed progression through meiosis I by activation of the spindle assembly checkpoint. Arrested oocytes had poorly congressed chromosomes, and centromeres were frequently split by microtubules. Thus, we have demonstrated that the centromeric RNA plays a specific role in female meiosis I compared with mitosis and is required for maintaining the structural integrity of centromeres. This may contribute to the high aneuploidy rates observed in female meiosis.

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