Kinetochores attach sister chromatids to microtubules of the mitotic spindle and orchestrate chromosome disjunction at anaphase. Although S. cerevisiae has the simplest known kinetochores, they nonetheless contain ∼70 subunits that assemble on centromeric DNA in a hierarchical manner. Developing an accurate picture of the DNA-binding, linker and microtubule-binding layers of kinetochores, including the functions of individual proteins in these layers, is a key challenge in the field of yeast chromosome segregation. Moreover, comparison of orthologous proteins in yeast and humans promises to extend insight obtained from the study of simple fungal kinetochores to complex animal cell kinetochores.
We show that S. cerevisiae Spc105p forms a heterotrimeric complex with Kre28p, the likely orthologue of the metazoan kinetochore protein Zwint-1. Through systematic analysis of interdependencies among kinetochore complexes, focused on Spc105p/Kre28p, we develop a comprehensive picture of the assembly hierarchy of budding yeast kinetochores. We find Spc105p/Kre28p to comprise the third linker complex that, along with the Ndc80 and MIND linker complexes, is responsible for bridging between centromeric heterochromatin and kinetochore MAPs and motors. Like the Ndc80 complex, Spc105p/Kre28p is also essential for kinetochore binding by components of the spindle assembly checkpoint. Moreover, these functions are conserved in human cells.
Spc105p/Kre28p is the last of the core linker complexes to be analyzed in yeast and we show it to be required for kinetochore binding by a discrete subset of kMAPs (Bim1p, Bik1p, Slk19p) and motors (Cin8p, Kar3p), all of which are nonessential. Strikingly, dissociation of these proteins from kinetochores prevents bipolar attachment, even though the Ndc80 and DASH complexes, the two best-studied kMAPs, are still present. The failure of Spc105 deficient kinetochores to bind correctly to spindle microtubules and to recruit checkpoint proteins in yeast and human cells explains the observed severity of missegregation phenotypes.
Sexually reproducing organisms halve their cellular ploidy during gametogenesis by undergoing a specialized form of cell division known as meiosis. During meiosis, a single round of DNA replication is followed by two rounds of nuclear divisions (referred to as meiosis I and II). While sister kinetochores bind to microtubules emanating from opposite spindle poles during mitosis, they bind to microtubules originating from the same spindle pole during meiosis I. This phenomenon is referred to as mono-orientation and is essential for setting up the reductional mode of chromosome segregation during meiosis I. In budding yeast, mono-orientation depends on a four component protein complex referred to as monopolin which consists of two nucleolar proteins Csm1 and Lrs4, meiosis-specific protein Mam1 of unknown function and casein kinase Hrr25. Monopolin complex binds to kinetochores during meiosis I and prevents bipolar attachments. Although monopolin associates with kinetochores during meiosis I, its binding site(s) on the kinetochore is not known and its mechanism of action has not been established. By carrying out an imaging-based screen we have found that the MIND complex, a component of the central kinetochore, is required for monopolin association with kinetochores during meiosis. Furthermore, we demonstrate that interaction of monopolin subunit Csm1 with the N-terminal domain of MIND complex subunit Dsn1, is essential for both the association of monopolin with kinetochores and for monopolar attachment of sister kinetochores during meiosis I. As such this provides the first functional evidence for a monopolin-binding site at the kinetochore.
All sexually reproducing organisms produce haploid gametes from diploid cells via meiosis. During meiosis, one round of DNA replication is followed by two rounds of nuclear division (called meiosis I and II). This is unlike mitotically proliferating cells wherein one round of DNA replication is followed by one round of nuclear division. During meiosis I, sister chromatids move towards the same spindle pole unlike in mitosis where they move towards opposite spindle poles. Poleward chromosome movement is achieved by association of kinetochores (a complex network of proteins assembled at centromeres on chromosomes) with microtubule ends emanating from spindle poles. The basis of the contrasting fate of sister chromatids during mitosis and meiosis I is best studied in budding yeast in which a protein complex called monopolin binds to sister kinetochores during meiosis I and ensures that they face the same spindle pole. But precisely how monopolin binds to kinetochores was unknown. In this study, we have identified a monopolin's receptor at the kinetochore. Disabling the receptor did not affect mitotic growth but severely compromised meiotic chromosome segregation. Cells lacking the monopolin receptor attempt to segregate sister chromatids towards opposite spindle poles during meiosis I with catastrophic genetic consequences.
The spindle checkpoint ensures that newly born cells receive one copy of each chromosome by preventing chromosomes from segregating until they are all correctly attached to the spindle. The checkpoint monitors tension to distinguish between correctly aligned chromosomes and those with both sisters attached to the same spindle pole. Tension arises when sister kinetochores attach to and are pulled toward opposite poles, stretching the chromatin around centromeres and elongating kinetochores. We distinguished between two hypotheses for where the checkpoint monitors tension: between the kinetochores, by detecting alterations in the distance between them, or by responding to changes in the structure of the kinetochore itself. To distinguish these models, we inhibited chromatin stretch by tethering sister chromatids together by binding a tetrameric form of the Lac repressor to arrays of the Lac operator located on either side of a centromere. Inhibiting chromatin stretch did not activate the spindle checkpoint; these cells entered anaphase at the same time as control cells that express a dimeric version of the Lac repressor, which cannot cross link chromatids, and cells whose checkpoint has been inactivated. There is no dominant checkpoint inhibition when sister kinetochores are held together: cells expressing the tetrameric Lac repressor still arrest in response to microtubule-depolymerizing drugs. Tethering chromatids together does not disrupt kinetochore function; chromosomes are successfully segregated to opposite poles of the spindle. Our results indicate that the spindle checkpoint does not monitor inter-kinetochore separation, thus supporting the hypothesis that tension is measured within the kinetochore.
The spindle checkpoint monitors tension on chromosomes to distinguish between chromosomes that are correctly and incorrectly attached to the spindle. Tension is generated across a correctly attached chromosome as microtubules from opposite poles attach to and pull kinetochores apart, but are resisted by the cohesin that holds sister chromatids together. This tension generates separation between kinetochores as pericentric chromatin stretches and it also elongates the kinetochores. To monitor tension, the checkpoint could measure the separation between kinetochores or the stretch within them. We inhibited the ability of pericentric chromatin to stretch by tethering sister centromeres to each other, and we asked whether the resulting reduction in inter-kinetochore separation artificially activated the spindle checkpoint. Inhibiting inter-kinetochore separation does not delay anaphase, and the timing of mitosis was the same in cells with or without the spindle checkpoint, showing that the checkpoint is not activated. Inhibiting chromatin stretch does not alter the function of kinetochores as chromosomes are still segregated correctly, nor does it hinder the checkpoint. Cells whose sister kinetochores are held together can still activate the checkpoint in response to microtubule depolymerization. Our results indicate the spindle checkpoint does not monitor inter-kinetochore separation and likely monitors tension within kinetochores.
The attachment of sister kinetochores by microtubules emanating from opposite spindle poles establishes chromosome bipolar attachment, which generates tension on chromosomes and is essential for sister-chromatid segregation. Syntelic attachment occurs when both sister kinetochores are attached by microtubules from the same spindle pole and this attachment is unable to generate tension on chromosomes, but a reliable method to induce syntelic attachments is not available in budding yeast. The spindle checkpoint can sense the lack of tension on chromosomes as well as detached kinetochores to prevent anaphase onset. In budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, tension checkpoint proteins Aurora/Ipl1 kinase and centromere-localized Sgo1 are required to sense the absence of tension but are dispensable for the checkpoint response to detached kinetochores. We have found that the loss of function of a motor protein complex Cik1/Kar3 in budding yeast leads to syntelic attachments. Inactivation of either the spindle or tension checkpoint enables premature anaphase entry in cells with dysfunctional Cik1/Kar3, resulting in co-segregation of sister chromatids. Moreover, the abolished Kar3-kinetochore interaction in cik1 mutants suggests that the Cik1/Kar3 complex mediates chromosome movement along microtubules, which could facilitate bipolar attachment. Therefore, we can induce syntelic attachments in budding yeast by inactivating the Cik1/Kar3 complex, and this approach will be very useful to study the checkpoint response to syntelic attachments.
Chromosome bipolar attachment occurs when sister chromatids are attached by microtubules emanating from opposite spindle poles and is essential for faithful sister-chromatid segregation. Chromosomes are under tension once bipolar attachment is established. The absence of tension is sensed by the tension checkpoint that prevents chromosome segregation. The attachment of sister chromatids by microtubules from the same spindle pole generates syntelic attachment, which fails to generate tension on chromosomes. However, a reliable method to induce syntelic attachment is not available. Our findings indicate that the inactivation of the motor complex, Cik1/Kar3, results in chromosomes with syntelic attachment in budding yeast. In the absence of the tension checkpoint, yeast cells with dysfunctional Cik1/Kar3 enter anaphase, resulting in co-segregation of sister chromatids. Therefore, with this method we can experimentally induce syntelic attachment in yeast and investigate how cells respond to this incorrect attachment.
INCENP acts as a protein scaffold that integrates the functions of two crucial mitotic kinases, Aurora B and Polo, at centromeres of mitotic chromosomes.
The coordinated activities at centromeres of two key cell cycle kinases, Polo and Aurora B, are critical for ensuring that the two sister kinetochores of each chromosome are attached to microtubules from opposite spindle poles prior to chromosome segregation at anaphase. Initial attachments of chromosomes to the spindle involve random interactions between kinetochores and dynamic microtubules, and errors occur frequently during early stages of the process. The balance between microtubule binding and error correction (e.g., release of bound microtubules) requires the activities of Polo and Aurora B kinases, with Polo promoting stable attachments and Aurora B promoting detachment. Our study concerns the coordination of the activities of these two kinases in vivo. We show that INCENP, a key scaffolding subunit of the chromosomal passenger complex (CPC), which consists of Aurora B kinase, INCENP, Survivin, and Borealin/Dasra B, also interacts with Polo kinase in Drosophila cells. It was known that Aurora A/Bora activates Polo at centrosomes during late G2. However, the kinase that activates Polo on chromosomes for its critical functions at kinetochores was not known. We show here that Aurora B kinase phosphorylates Polo on its activation loop at the centromere in early mitosis. This phosphorylation requires both INCENP and Aurora B activity (but not Aurora A activity) and is critical for Polo function at kinetochores. Our results demonstrate clearly that Polo kinase is regulated differently at centrosomes and centromeres and suggest that INCENP acts as a platform for kinase crosstalk at the centromere. This crosstalk may enable Polo and Aurora B to achieve a balance wherein microtubule mis-attachments are corrected, but proper attachments are stabilized allowing proper chromosome segregation.
When cells divide, their chromosomes segregate to the two daughter cells on the mitotic spindle, a dynamic macromolecular scaffold composed of microtubules. Each chromosome consists of two sister chromatids. Microtubules attach to the chromatids at structures called kinetochores, which assemble at the surface of the constricted centromere region where the sister chromatids are most closely paired. To segregate correctly, sister kinetochores must attach to microtubules emanating from opposite spindle poles. Kinetochore attachment to microtubules occurs randomly and mistakes occur frequently. For example, both sister kinetochores may attach to one pole, or one kinetochore may attach to both poles simultaneously. Two protein kinases, Aurora B and Polo, have essential roles in regulating this process: Aurora B triggers the release of incorrect attachments and Polo strengthens the grip that correctly attached kinetochores have on microtubules. In this work, we have investigated the potential functional links between these two crucial enzymes at centromeres in cells of the fruitfly. We found that early in division, Aurora B and Polo both interact with a structural partner protein named INCENP at centromeres. This allows Aurora B to phosphorylate Polo, thereby activating it. We show that coordinating the activities of these two central mitotic kinases is crucial for successful cell division, and that this mechanism is conserved in human cells.
BIK1 function is required for nuclear fusion, chromosome disjunction, and nuclear segregation during mitosis. The BIK1 protein colocalizes with tubulin to the spindle pole body and mitotic spindle. Synthetic lethality observed in double mutant strains containing a mutation in the BIK1 gene and in the gene for alpha- or beta-tubulin is consistent with a physical interaction between BIK1 and tubulin. Furthermore, over- or underexpression of BIK1 causes aberrant microtubule assembly and function, bik1 null mutants are viable but contain very short or undetectable cytoplasmic microtubules. Spindle formation often occurs strictly within the mother cell, probably accounting for the many multinucleate and anucleate bik1 cells. Elevated levels of chromosome loss in bik1 cells are indicative of defective spindle function. Nuclear fusion is blocked in bik1 x bik1 zygotes, which have truncated cytoplasmic microtubules. Cells overexpressing BIK1 initially have abnormally short or nonexistent spindle microtubules and long cytoplasmic microtubules. Subsequently, cells lose all microtubule structures, coincident with the arrest of division. Based on these results, we propose that BIK1 is required stoichiometrically for the formation or stabilization of microtubules during mitosis and for spindle pole body fusion during conjugation.
The kinetochore is the macromolecular complex that assembles onto centromeric DNA and orchestrates the segregation of duplicated chromosomes. More than 60 components make up the budding yeast kinetochore, including inner kinetochore proteins that bind to centromeric chromatin and outer proteins that directly interact with microtubules. However, little is known about how these components assemble into a functional kinetochore and whether there are quality control mechanisms that monitor kinetochore integrity. We previously developed a method to isolate kinetochore particles via purification of the conserved Dsn1 kinetochore protein. We find that the Mub1/Ubr2 ubiquitin ligase complex associates with kinetochore particles through the CENP-CMif2 protein. Although Mub1/Ubr2 are not stable kinetochore components in vivo, they regulate the levels of the conserved outer kinetochore protein Dsn1 via ubiquitylation. Strikingly, a deletion of Mub1/Ubr2 restores the levels and viability of a mutant Dsn1 protein, reminiscent of quality control systems that target aberrant proteins for degradation. Consistent with this, Mub1/Ubr2 help to maintain viability when kinetochores are defective. Together, our data identify a previously unknown regulatory mechanism for the conserved Dsn1 kinetochore protein. We propose that Mub1/Ubr2 are part of a quality control system that monitors kinetochore integrity, thus ensuring genomic stability.
The flawless execution of cell division is essential to the survival of all organisms. The loss or gain of a single chromosome, the state called aneuploidy, is a hallmark of cancer cells and is the leading cause of spontaneous miscarriages and hereditary birth defects. Segregation is mediated by the kinetochore, the macromolecular complex that assembles on each chromosome and attaches to spindle microtubules to pull chromosomes to opposite poles when cells divide. It is therefore critical to understand how kinetochores are assembled and maintained. Here, we find that the levels of a conserved kinetochore protein are regulated by proteolysis. We propose that cells have quality control systems that ensure kinetochore integrity and thus genome stability.
During meiosis, a single round of DNA replication is followed by two consecutive rounds of nuclear divisions called meiosis I and meiosis II. In meiosis I, homologous chromosomes segregate, while sister chromatids remain together. Determining how this unusual chromosome segregation behavior is established is central to understanding germ cell development. Here we show that preventing microtubule–kinetochore interactions during premeiotic S phase and prophase I is essential for establishing the meiosis I chromosome segregation pattern. Premature interactions of kinetochores with microtubules transform meiosis I into a mitosis-like division by disrupting two key meiosis I events: coorientation of sister kinetochores and protection of centromeric cohesin removal from chromosomes. Furthermore we find that restricting outer kinetochore assembly contributes to preventing premature engagement of microtubules with kinetochores. We propose that inhibition of microtubule–kinetochore interactions during premeiotic S phase and prophase I is central to establishing the unique meiosis I chromosome segregation pattern.
Diploid organisms contain two sets of chromosomes, one set inherited from the mother and the other from the father. Humans, for example, have 23 pairs of chromosomes, and the chromosomes within each pair are said to be homologous because they are similar to each other in a number of ways, including length and shape. When it comes time for one of these cells to duplicate, each chromosome is first replicated to generate a pair of identical chromosomes called sister chromatids, which subsequently separate in a cell division process known as mitosis to produce two identical daughter cells.
While most cells proliferate via mitotic cell division, the germ cells that generate gametes in the form of sperm or eggs undergo a different cell division known as meiosis. This process reduces the number of chromosomes by a factor of two, so that the original number of chromosomes is restored by the fusion of gametes during sexual reproduction. During meiotic cell division, a single round of DNA replication is followed by two consecutive rounds of nuclear division called meiosis I and meiosis II. During meiosis I, homologous chromosomes are separated. Subsequently, during meiosis II, the sister chromatids separate to produce a total of four products, each with half the number of chromosomes as the original cell.
The separation of homologous chromosomes or sister chromatids relies on them being pulled apart by microtubules. One end of each microtubule is attached to a protein-based structure called a kinetochore, which is assembled onto the centromere of each chromosome. The other end of each microtubule is attached to a structure that is called a centrosome in human cells and a spindle pole body in yeast cells. Human cells have two centrosomes, which reside on the opposite poles of the cell, and likewise for the spindle pole bodies in yeast cells. In mitotic cells and in meiosis II, microtubules attach to kinetochores in a way that means the sister chromatids are pulled apart. During meiosis I, on the other hand, they attach to kinetochores in a manner so the homologous chromosomes are pulled apart.
Miller et al. now show how the timing of the interaction between the kinetochore and microtubules is critical to ensure that the homologous chromosomes are separated during meiosis I. They found that premature interactions resulted in the separation of sister chromatids (as happens in mitosis) rather than the separation of homologous chromosomes, as is supposed to happen in meiosis I. They also showed that cells prevent such premature interactions by dismantling the outer regions of the kinetochore and reducing the levels of enzymes called CDKs in the cell. These results demonstrate that preventing premature microtubule–kinetochore interactions is essential for establishing a meiosis I-specific chromosome architecture, and they also provide fresh insights into how the molecular machinery that is responsible for mitotic chromosome segregation can be modulated to achieve meiosis.
meiosis; cyclin-dependent kinase; tension; cohesin; chromosome segregation; kinetochore; S. cerevisiae
Bim1 promotes microtubule assembly in vitro, primarily by decreasing the frequency of catastrophes. In contrast, Bik1 inhibits microtubule assembly by slowing growth and, consequently, promoting catastrophes. These proteins interact to form a complex that affects microtubule dynamics in much the same way as Bim1 alone.
Microtubule dynamics are regulated by plus-end tracking proteins (+TIPs), which bind microtubule ends and influence their polymerization properties. In addition to binding microtubules, most +TIPs physically associate with other +TIPs, creating a complex web of interactions. To fully understand how +TIPs regulate microtubule dynamics, it is essential to know the intrinsic biochemical activities of each +TIP and how +TIP interactions affect these activities. Here, we describe the activities of Bim1 and Bik1, two +TIP proteins from budding yeast and members of the EB1 and CLIP-170 families, respectively. We find that purified Bim1 and Bik1 form homodimers that interact with each other to form a tetramer. Bim1 binds along the microtubule lattice but with highest affinity for the microtubule end; however, Bik1 requires Bim1 for localization to the microtubule lattice and end. In vitro microtubule polymerization assays show that Bim1 promotes microtubule assembly, primarily by decreasing the frequency of catastrophes. In contrast, Bik1 inhibits microtubule assembly by slowing growth and, consequently, promoting catastrophes. Interestingly, the Bim1-Bik1 complex affects microtubule dynamics in much the same way as Bim1 alone. These studies reveal new activities for EB1 and CLIP-170 family members and demonstrate how interactions between two +TIP proteins influence their activities.
Kinetochore attachment to the ends of dynamic microtubules is a conserved feature of mitotic spindle organization that is thought to be critical for proper chromosome segregation. Although kinetochores have been described to transition from lateral to end-on attachments, the phase of lateral attachment has been difficult to study in yeast due to its transient nature. We have previously described a kinetochore mutant, DAM1-765, which exhibits lateral attachments and misregulation of microtubule length. Here we show that the misregulation of microtubule length in DAM1-765 cells occurs despite localization of microtubule associated proteins Bik1, Stu2, Cin8 and Kip3 to microtubules. DAM1-765 kinetochores recruit the spindle checkpoint protein Bub1, however Bub1 localization to DAM1-765 kinetochores is not sufficient to cause a cell cycle arrest. Interestingly, the DAM1-765 mutation rescues the temperature sensitivity of a biorientationdeficient ipl1-321 mutant, and DAM1-765 chromosome loss rates are similar to wild-type cells. the spindle checkpoint in DAM1-765 cells responds properly to unattached kinetochores created by nocodazole treatment and loss of tension caused by a cohesin mutant. progression of DAM1-765 cells through mitosis therefore suggests that satisfaction of the checkpoint depends more highly on biorientation of sister kinetochores than on achievement of a specific interaction between kinetochores and microtubule plus ends.
spindle assembly checkpoint; kinetochore-microtubule attachments; biorientation; DAM1-765
Kinetochore attachment to the ends of dynamic microtubules is a conserved feature of mitotic spindle organization that is thought to be critical for proper chromosome segregation. Although kinetochores have been described to transition from lateral to end-on attachments, the phase of lateral attachment has been difficult to study in yeast due to its transient nature. We have previously described a kinetochore mutant, DAM1-765, which exhibits lateral attachments and misregulation of microtubule length. Here we show that the misregulation of microtubule length in DAM1-765 cells occurs despite localization of microtubule associated proteins Bik1, Stu2, Cin8, and Kip3 to microtubules. DAM1-765 kinetochores recruit the spindle checkpoint protein Bub1, however Bub1 localization to DAM1-765 kinetochores is not sufficient to cause a cell cycle arrest. Interestingly, the DAM1-765 mutation rescues the temperature sensitivity of a biorientation-deficient ipl1-321 mutant, and DAM1-765 chromosome loss rates are similar to wild-type cells. The spindle checkpoint in DAM1-765 cells responds properly to unattached kinetochores created by nocodazole treatment and loss of tension caused by a cohesin mutant. Progression of DAM1-765 cells through mitosis therefore suggests that satisfaction of the checkpoint depends more highly on biorientation of sister kinetochores than on achievement of a specific interaction between kinetochores and microtubule plus ends.
spindle assembly checkpoint; kinetochore-microtubule attachments; biorientation; DAM1-765
Faithful chromosome segregation in meiosis is essential for ploidy stability over sexual life cycles. In plants, defective chromosome segregation caused by gene mutations or other factors leads to the formation of unbalanced or unreduced gametes creating aneuploid or polyploid progeny, respectively. Accurate segregation requires the coordinated execution of conserved processes occurring throughout the two meiotic cell divisions. Synapsis and recombination ensure the establishment of chiasmata that hold homologous chromosomes together allowing their correct segregation in the first meiotic division, which is also tightly regulated by cell-cycle dependent release of cohesin and monopolar attachment of sister kinetochores to microtubules. In meiosis II, bi-orientation of sister kinetochores and proper spindle orientation correctly segregate chromosomes in four haploid cells. Checkpoint mechanisms acting at kinetochores control the accuracy of kinetochore-microtubule attachment, thus ensuring the completion of segregation. Here we review the current knowledge on the processes taking place during chromosome segregation in plant meiosis, focusing on the characterization of the molecular factors involved.
chromosome segregation; cohesion; kinetochore; meiosis; plant; recombination; spindle; synapsis
Nsk1 is a novel fission yeast protein that binds the nucleolus during interphase and the nucleoplasm during early mitosis. After anaphase and following dephosphorylation by Clp1, Nsk1 binds the kinetochore–spindle pole junction and maintains accurate chromosome segregation by promoting the association of kinetochores to spindle poles during anaphase B.
Type 1 phosphatase (PP1) antagonizes Aurora B kinase to stabilize kinetochore–microtubule attachments and to silence the spindle checkpoint. We screened for factors that exacerbate the growth defect of Δdis2 cells, which lack one of two catalytic subunits of PP1 in fission yeast, and identified Nsk1, a novel protein required for accurate chromosome segregation. During interphase, Nsk1 resides in the nucleolus but spreads throughout the nucleoplasm as cells enter mitosis. Following dephosphorylation by Clp1 (Cdc14-like) phosphatase and at least one other phosphatase, Nsk1 localizes to the interface between kinetochores and the inner face of the spindle pole body during anaphase. In the absence of Nsk1, some kinetochores become detached from spindle poles during anaphase B. If this occurs late in anaphase B, then the sister chromatids of unclustered kinetochores segregate to the correct daughter cell. These unclustered kinetochores are efficiently captured, retrieved, bioriented, and segregated during the following mitosis, as long as Dis2 is present. However, if kinetochores are detached from a spindle pole early in anaphase B, then these sister chromatids become missegregated. These data suggest Nsk1 ensures accurate chromosome segregation by promoting the tethering of kinetochores to spindle poles during anaphase B.
Segregation of sister chromatids to opposite spindle poles during anaphase is dependent on the prior capture of sister kinetochores by microtubules extending from opposite spindle poles (bi-orientation). If sister kinetochores attach to microtubules from the same pole (syntelic attachment), the kinetochore-spindle pole connections must be re-oriented to be converted to proper bi-orientation [1, 2]. This re-orientation is facilitated by Aurora B kinase (Ipl1 in budding yeast), which eliminates kinetochore-spindle pole connections that do not generate tension [3-6]. Mps1 is another evolutionarily conserved protein kinase, required for spindle-assembly checkpoint and, in some organisms, for duplication of microtubule-organizing centers . Separately from these functions, however, Mps1 has an important role in chromosome segregation . Here we show that, in budding yeast, Mps1 has a crucial role in establishing sister-kinetochore bi-orientation on the mitotic spindle. Failure in bi-orientation with inactive Mps1 is not due to a lack of kinetochore-spindle pole connections by microtubules, but due to a defect in properly orienting the connections. Mps1 promotes re-orientation of kinetochore-spindle pole connections and eliminates those that do not generate tension between sister kinetochores. We did not find evidence that Ipl1 regulates Mps1 or vice versa; therefore, they play similar, but possibly independent, roles in facilitating bi-orientation.
Segregation of sister chromatids to opposite spindle poles during anaphase is dependent on the prior capture of sister kinetochores by microtubules extending from opposite spindle poles (bi-orientation). If sister kinetochores attach to microtubules from the same pole (syntelic attachment), the kinetochore-spindle pole connections must be re-oriented to be converted to proper bi-orientation [1, 2]. This re-orientation is facilitated by Aurora B kinase (Ipl1 in budding yeast), which eliminates kinetochore-spindle pole connections that do not generate tension [3–6]. Mps1 is another evolutionarily conserved protein kinase, required for spindle-assembly checkpoint and, in some organisms, for duplication of microtubule-organizing centers . Separately from these functions, however, Mps1 has an important role in chromosome segregation . Here we show that, in budding yeast, Mps1 has a crucial role in establishing sister-kinetochore bi-orientation on the mitotic spindle. Failure in bi-orientation with inactive Mps1 is not due to a lack of kinetochore-spindle pole connections by microtubules, but due to a defect in properly orienting the connections. Mps1 promotes re-orientation of kinetochore-spindle pole connections and eliminates those that do not generate tension between sister kinetochores. We did not find evidence that Ipl1 regulates Mps1 or vice versa; therefore, they play similar, but possibly independent, roles in facilitating bi-orientation.
The centromere/kinetochore complex plays an essential role in cell and organismal viability by ensuring chromosome movements during mitosis and meiosis. The kinetochore also mediates the spindle attachment checkpoint (SAC), which delays anaphase initiation until all chromosomes have achieved bipolar attachment of kinetochores to the mitotic spindle. CENP-A proteins are centromere-specific chromatin components that provide both a structural and a functional foundation for kinetochore formation. Here we show that cells in Drosophila embryos homozygous for null mutations in CENP-A (CID) display an early mitotic delay. This mitotic delay is not suppressed by inactivation of the DNA damage checkpoint and is unlikely to be the result of DNA damage. Surprisingly, mutation of the SAC component BUBR1 partially suppresses this mitotic delay. Furthermore, cid mutants retain an intact SAC response to spindle disruption despite the inability of many kinetochore proteins, including SAC components, to target to kinetochores. We propose that SAC components are able to monitor spindle assembly and inhibit cell cycle progression in the absence of sustained kinetochore localization.
Normal inheritance of genetic traits from one cell or organismal generation to the next depends on accurate chromosome replication and segregation. Defective chromosome segregation is associated with birth defects and cancer. The centromere is a single site on the chromosome that is responsible for assembling the kinetochore, which mediates chromosome attachment to the microtubule spindle and all chromosome movements. In addition, the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) ensures normal inheritance by delaying entry into anaphase when chromosome–spindle attachments are defective. Previous studies suggested that SAC function required kinetochore localization of key components. This study shows that elimination of a centromere-specific histone (CID) results in an early mitotic delay. Although this delay occurs earlier than the established time of SAC function (at the metaphase–anaphase transition), it depends on the presence of an essential SAC protein (BUBR1). Furthermore, the CID-mediated early mitotic delay occurs in the absence of kinetochore formation or localization of key SAC proteins. These results suggest that the fidelity of kinetochore–microtubule attachment is also monitored early in mitosis, and in the absence of kinetochore formation and localization of SAC components.
Members of chromosome passenger complex BIR1 and SLI15 suppress the chromosome segregation defect of bub1Δ and sgo1Δ. Neither Bub1 nor Sgo1 is required for CPC activity. This study found genetic interaction between Mps1 and Sgo1. Mps1 governs localization of Sgo1. Bub1, Sgo1, and Mps1 function in parallel to the CPC in correction of syntelic attachments.
The conserved mitotic kinase Bub1 performs multiple functions that are only partially characterized. Besides its role in the spindle assembly checkpoint and chromosome alignment, Bub1 is crucial for the kinetochore recruitment of multiple proteins, among them Sgo1. Both Bub1 and Sgo1 are dispensable for growth of haploid and diploid budding yeast, but they become essential in cells with higher ploidy. We find that overexpression of SGO1 partially corrects the chromosome segregation defect of bub1Δ haploid cells and restores viability to bub1Δ tetraploid cells. Using an unbiased high-copy suppressor screen, we identified two members of the chromosomal passenger complex (CPC), BIR1 (survivin) and SLI15 (INCENP, inner centromere protein), as suppressors of the growth defect of both bub1Δ and sgo1Δ tetraploids, suggesting that these mutants die due to defects in chromosome biorientation. Overexpression of BIR1 or SLI15 also complements the benomyl sensitivity of haploid bub1Δ and sgo1Δ cells. Mutants lacking SGO1 fail to biorient sister chromatids attached to the same spindle pole (syntelic attachment) after nocodazole treatment. Moreover, the sgo1Δ cells accumulate syntelic attachments in unperturbed mitoses, a defect that is partially corrected by BIR1 or SLI15 overexpression. We show that in budding yeast neither Bub1 nor Sgo1 is required for CPC localization or affects Aurora B activity. Instead we identify Sgo1 as a possible partner of Mps1, a mitotic kinase suggested to have an Aurora B–independent function in establishment of biorientation. We found that Sgo1 overexpression rescues defects caused by metaphase inactivation of Mps1 and that Mps1 is required for Sgo1 localization to the kinetochore. We propose that Bub1, Sgo1, and Mps1 facilitate chromosome biorientation independently of the Aurora B–mediated pathway at the budding yeast kinetochore and that both pathways are required for the efficient turnover of syntelic attachments.
Merotelic kinetochore attachment is a major source of aneuploidy in mammalian tissue cells in culture. Mammalian kinetochores typically have binding sites for about 20–25 kinetochore microtubules. In prometaphase, kinetochores become merotelic if they attach to microtubules from opposite poles rather than to just one pole as normally occurs. Merotelic attachments support chromosome bi-orientation and alignment near the metaphase plate and they are not detected by the mitotic spindle checkpoint. At anaphase onset, sister chromatids separate, but a chromatid with a merotelic kinetochore may not be segregated correctly, and may lag near the spindle equator because of pulling forces toward opposite poles, or move in the direction of the wrong pole. Correction mechanisms are important for preventing segregation errors. There are probably more than 100 times as many PtK1 tissue cells with merotelic kinetochores in early mitosis, and about 16 times as many entering anaphase as the 1% of cells with lagging chromosomes seen in late anaphase. The role of spindle mechanics and potential functions of the Ndc80/Nuf2 protein complex at the kinetochore/microtubule interface is discussed for two correction mechanisms: one that functions before anaphase to reduce the number of kinetochore microtubules to the wrong pole, and one that functions after anaphase onset to move merotelic kinetochores based on the ratio of kinetochore microtubules to the correct versus incorrect pole.
mitosis; microtubule; kinetochore; aneuploidy; Ndc80; chromosome
Correct chromosome segregation is essential in order to prevent aneuploidy. To segregate sister chromatids equally to daughter cells, the sisters must attach to microtubules emanating from opposite spindle poles. This so-called biorientation manifests itself by increased tension and conformational changes across kinetochores and pericentric chromatin. Tensionless attachments are dissolved by the activity of the conserved mitotic kinase Aurora B/Ipl1, thereby promoting the formation of correctly attached chromosomes. Recruitment of the conserved centromeric protein shugoshin is essential for biorientation, but its exact role has been enigmatic. Here, we identify a novel function of shugoshin (Sgo1 in budding yeast) that together with the protein phosphatase PP2A-Rts1 ensures localization of condensin to the centromeric chromatin in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Failure to recruit condensin results in an abnormal conformation of the pericentric region and impairs the correction of tensionless chromosome attachments. Moreover, we found that shugoshin is required for maintaining Aurora B/Ipl1 localization on kinetochores during metaphase. Thus, shugoshin has a dual function in promoting biorientation in budding yeast: first, by its ability to facilitate condensin recruitment it modulates the conformation of the pericentric chromatin. Second, shugoshin contributes to the maintenance of Aurora B/Ipl1 at the kinetochore during gradual establishment of bipolarity in budding yeast mitosis. Our findings identify shugoshin as a versatile molecular adaptor that governs chromosome biorientation.
Accurate chromosome segregation is required for the equal distribution of genetic information to progeny. Failure to equally segregate chromosomes leads to aneuploidy, cell death or cancer. Proteins of the conserved shugoshin family contribute to accurate chromosome segregation in both meiosis and mitosis. The role of shugoshin in protection of centromeric cohesion during meiosis is well understood, but only little is known about shugoshin's function during mitosis. We show that Sgo1 mediates localization of the heterotrimeric phosphatase PP2A-Rts1 to the centromere and that this is in turn important for the efficient recruitment of condensin to the centromere. The failure to load centromeric condensin results in a defect during correction of improper microtubule-kinetochore attachments. Moreover, Sgo1 facilitates the maintenance of a centromeric pool of Aurora B/Ipl1, a conserved mitotic kinase essential for the correction of faulty microtubule-kinetochore attachments. Our results show that Sgo1 operates as a multifunctional hub that coordinates two centromeric functions essential for correct chromosome segregation.
Balanced chromosome segregation in mitosis requires synchronous chromatid separation at anaphase and the precise coordination of anaphase with cytokinesis and mitotic exit. The mitotic spindle checkpoint monitors proper attachment and/or tension induced by microtubule binding to sister kinetochores. Within each cell, once all chromosomes achieve bipolar attachment to the spindle poles and align at the metaphase plate, the spindle checkpoint is silenced triggering anaphase onset, cytokinesis, and mitotic exit. We used a bioinformatics approach to identify a candidate protein, C13orf3/Ska3, predicted to function in mitosis. Cells in which Ska3 expression was reduced by RNAi achieved metaphase alignment but were unable to silence the spindle checkpoint and enter normal anaphase. After hours of metaphase arrest, chromatids separated but retained robust attachment to spindle microtubules. These cells remained checkpoint arrested with strong accumulation of the checkpoint protein Bub1 at kinetochores. During normal mitosis Ska3 protein accumulated on kinetochores in prometaphase after nuclear envelope breakdown. This kinetochore localization of Ska3 was dependent on Shugoshin (Sgo1), the “guardian spirit” of chromatid cohesion. In contrast, Sgo1, which accumulates at the centromeres in early prophase, was not dependent on Ska3. Although Ska3 is required for maintenance of sister chromatid cohesion and is dependent upon Sgo1, cells with reduced Sgo1 show a stronger premature chromatid separation phenotype than those with reduced Ska3. We hypothesize that Ska3 functions as a component of a network that coordinates checkpoint signaling from the microtubule binding sites within a kinetochore by laterally linking the individual binding sites. We suggest that this network plays a major role in silencing the spindle checkpoint when chromosomes are aligned at metaphase to allow timely anaphase onset and mitotic exit.
Chromosome segregation requires sister chromatid resolution. Condensins are essential for this process since they organize an axial structure where topoisomerase II can work. How sister chromatid separation is coordinated with chromosome condensation and decatenation activity remains unknown. We combined four-dimensional (4D) microscopy, RNA interference (RNAi), and biochemical analyses to show that topoisomerase II plays an essential role in this process. Either depletion of topoisomerase II or exposure to specific anti-topoisomerase II inhibitors causes centromere nondisjunction, associated with syntelic chromosome attachments. However, cells degrade cohesins and timely exit mitosis after satisfying the spindle assembly checkpoint. Moreover, in topoisomerase II–depleted cells, Aurora B and INCENP fail to transfer to the central spindle in late mitosis and remain tightly associated with centromeres of nondisjoined sister chromatids. Also, in topoisomerase II–depleted cells, Aurora B shows significantly reduced kinase activity both in S2 and HeLa cells. Codepletion of BubR1 in S2 cells restores Aurora B kinase activity, and consequently, most syntelic attachments are released. Taken together, our results support that topoisomerase II ensures proper sister chromatid separation through a direct role in centromere resolution and prevents incorrect microtubule–kinetochore attachments by allowing proper activation of Aurora B kinase.
Successful cell division requires that chromosomes are properly condensed and that each sister chromatid is self-contained by the time the sister pairs are segregated into separate daughter cells. It is also essential that the kinetochores at the centromeres of each pair of sister chromatids bind microtubules from opposite spindle poles. Topoisomerase II is a highly conserved enzyme that removes interlinks from DNA and is known to be essential to proper chromosome segregation during cell division. In this work, we have used state-of-the-art four-dimensional fluorescent microscopy to follow progression through mitosis in living cells depleted of topoisomerase II. We find that when the enzyme is absent, the two sister centromeres do not separate, and chromosomes missegregate. Moreover, the inappropriate centromere structure that results prevents the correct activation of the Aurora B kinase, which forms part of a regulatory mechanism that monitors correct segregation of chromosomes; as a result, cells exit mitosis abnormally.
Analysis of cells lacking topoisomerase II reveals that the enzyme has an essential role in the segregation of chromosomes, and specifically centromeres, at anaphase-telophase of mitosis: it prevents non-disjunction and allows activation of the Aurora B kinase, so as to correct improper attachments between microtubules and the kinetochore.
Unlike most eukaryotes, a kinetochore is fully assembled early in the cell cycle in budding yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans. These kinetochores are clustered together throughout the cell cycle. Kinetochore assembly on point centromeres of S. cerevisiae is considered to be a step-wise process that initiates with binding of inner kinetochore proteins on specific centromere DNA sequence motifs. In contrast, kinetochore formation in C. albicans, that carries regional centromeres of 3–5 kb long, has been shown to be a sequence independent but an epigenetically regulated event. In this study, we investigated the process of kinetochore assembly/disassembly in C. albicans. Localization dependence of various kinetochore proteins studied by confocal microscopy and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays revealed that assembly of a kinetochore is a highly coordinated and interdependent event. Partial depletion of an essential kinetochore protein affects integrity of the kinetochore cluster. Further protein depletion results in complete collapse of the kinetochore architecture. In addition, GFP-tagged kinetochore proteins confirmed similar time-dependent disintegration upon gradual depletion of an outer kinetochore protein (Dam1). The loss of integrity of a kinetochore formed on centromeric chromatin was demonstrated by reduced binding of CENP-A and CENP-C at the centromeres. Most strikingly, Western blot analysis revealed that gradual depletion of any of these essential kinetochore proteins results in concomitant reduction in cellular protein levels of CENP-A. We further demonstrated that centromere bound CENP-A is protected from the proteosomal mediated degradation. Based on these results, we propose that a coordinated interdependent circuitry of several evolutionarily conserved essential kinetochore proteins ensures integrity of a kinetochore formed on the foundation of CENP-A containing centromeric chromatin.
The kinetochore, a macromolecular protein complex that assembles on centromere DNA, interacts with spindle microtubules to mediate faithful chromosome segregation. The sequence of centromere DNA, which varies from 125 bp long point centromere in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to a few Mb long regional centromeres in humans, does not show any conservation across species. Kinetochore proteins, however, share a higher degree of conservation in amino acid sequence. Intriguingly, kinetochore assembly has been shown to be species-specific, although specialized centromeric chromatin is always formed by the centromeric histone CENP-A. We investigated this process of kinetochore assembly on epigenetically determined regional centromeres in the pathogenic budding yeast Candida albicans. Here we established that a coordinated interdependent assembly of several essential evolutionarily conserved kinetochore proteins ensures integrity of a functional kinetochore. Depletion of an essential kinetochore protein leads to total collapse of the kinetochore architecture. We observe that kinetochore disintegration precedes kinetochore collapse. Finally, we prove that kinetochore integrity keeps centromeric chromatin intact and protects CENP-A molecules from proteasomal mediated degradation.
The interaction of kinetochores with dynamic microtubules during mitosis is essential for proper centromere motility, congression to the metaphase plate, and subsequent anaphase chromosome segregation. Budding yeast has been critical in the discovery of proteins necessary for this interaction. However, the molecular mechanism for microtubule–kinetochore interactions remains poorly understood. Using live cell imaging and mutations affecting microtubule binding proteins and kinetochore function, we identify a regulatory mechanism for spindle microtubule dynamics involving Stu2p and the core kinetochore component, Ndc10p. Depleting cells of the microtubule binding protein Stu2p reduces kinetochore microtubule dynamics. Centromeres remain under tension but lack motility. Thus, normal microtubule dynamics are not required to maintain tension at the centromere. Loss of the kinetochore (ndc10-1, ndc10-2, and ctf13-30) does not drastically affect spindle microtubule turnover, indicating that Stu2p, not the kinetochore, is the foremost governor of microtubule dynamics. Disruption of kinetochore function with ndc10-1 does not affect the decrease in microtubule turnover in stu2 mutants, suggesting that the kinetochore is not required for microtubule stabilization. Remarkably, a partial kinetochore defect (ndc10-2) suppresses the decreased spindle microtubule turnover in the absence of Stu2p. These results indicate that Stu2p and Ndc10p differentially function in controlling kinetochore microtubule dynamics necessary for centromere movements.
In many eucaryotic cells, the midzone of the mitotic spindle forms a distinct structure containing a specific set of proteins. We have isolated ASE1, a gene encoding a component of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae spindle midzone. Strains lacking both ASE1 and BIK1, which encodes an S. cerevisiae microtubule-associated protein, are inviable. The analysis of the phenotype of a bik1 ase1 conditional double mutant suggests that BIK1 and ASE1 are not required for the assembly of a bipolar spindle, but are essential for anaphase spindle elongation. The steady-state levels of Ase1p are regulated in a manner that is consistent with a function during anaphase: they are low in G1, accumulate to maximal levels after S phase and then drop as cells exit mitosis. Components of the spindle midzone may therefore be required in vivo for anaphase spindle movement. Additionally, anaphase spindle movement may depend on a dedicated set of genes whose expression is induced at G2/M.
Cytoplasmic dynein mediates spindle positioning in budding yeast by powering sliding of microtubules along the cell cortex. Although previous studies have demonstrated cortical and plus-end targeting of dynein heavy chain (Dyn1/HC), the regulation of its recruitment to these sites remains elusive.
Here we show that separate domains of Dyn1/HC confer differential localization to the dynein complex. The N-terminal tail domain targets Dyn1/HC to cortical Num1 receptor sites, whereas the C-terminal motor domain targets Dyn1/HC to microtubule plus-ends in a Bik1/CLIP-170 and Pac1/LIS1 dependent manner. Surprisingly, the isolated motor domain blocks plus-end targeting of Dyn1/HC, leading to a dominant negative effect on dynein function. Overexpression of Pac1/LIS1, but not Bik1/CLIP-170, rescues the dominant negativity by restoring Dyn1/HC to plus-ends. In contrast, the isolated tail domain has no inhibitory effect on Dyn1/HC targeting and function. However, cortical targeting of the tail construct is more robust than full-length Dyn1/HC, and occurs independently of Bik1/CLIP-170 or Pac1/LIS1.
Our results suggest that the cortical association domain is normally masked in the full-length dynein molecule. We propose that targeting of dynein to plus-ends unmasks the tail, priming the motor for off-loading to cortical Num1 sites.