We have investigated expression and subcellular localization of the spindle checkpoint protein Mad2 during rat and mouse spermatogenesis and in superovulated mouse oocytes. Our immunofluorescence studies demonstrate substantial differences in the localization patterns of kinetochore-associated Mad2 in these meiotic systems compared with previous studies of mitosis. In addition, the association of Mad2 with second-division-metaphase kinetochores differed significantly in male versus female meiosis. In spermatogenesis, Mad2 remained at most kinetochores throughout the entire first meiotic division and was lost only at metaphase of the second meiotic division. This result indicates that loss of kinetochore-associated Mad2 is not essential for the metaphase-to-anaphase transition during the first meiotic division. Disruption of the male meiotic spindles with the microtubule depolymerizing agent nocodazole resulted in the appearance of Mad2 at nearly all kinetochores. In contrast, the microtubule stabilizer taxol induced the loss of Mad2 from the majority of the first-division-metaphase kinetochores in which it was normally present in untreated cells. In contrast to the situation in spermatogenesis, Mad2 persisted at the kinetochores of normal, second-division oocytes at metaphase. These findings suggest that the role of the kinetochore in signaling in the spindle checkpoint may differ markedly between mammalian mitosis and meiosis, between the two meiotic divisions, and between male and female meiosis.