Meiotic nuclear oscillations in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe are crucial for proper chromosome pairing and recombination. We report a mechanism of these oscillations on the basis of collective behavior of dynein motors linking the cell cortex and dynamic microtubules that extend from the spindle pole body in opposite directions. By combining quantitative live cell imaging and laser ablation with a theoretical description, we show that dynein dynamically redistributes in the cell in response to load forces, resulting in more dynein attached to the leading than to the trailing microtubules. The redistribution of motors introduces an asymmetry of motor forces pulling in opposite directions, leading to the generation of oscillations. Our work provides the first direct in vivo observation of self-organized dynamic dynein distributions, which, owing to the intrinsic motor properties, generate regular large-scale movements in the cell
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