Ipl1p is the budding yeast member of the Aurora family of protein kinases, critical regulators of genomic stability that are required for chromosome segregation, the spindle checkpoint, and cytokinesis. Using time-lapse microscopy, we found that Ipl1p also has a function in mitotic spindle disassembly that is separable from its previously identified roles. Ipl1–GFP localizes to kinetochores from G1 to metaphase, transfers to the spindle after metaphase, and accumulates at the spindle midzone late in anaphase. Ipl1p kinase activity increases at anaphase, and ipl1 mutants can stabilize fragile spindles. As the spindle disassembles, Ipl1p follows the plus ends of the depolymerizing spindle microtubules. Many Ipl1p substrates colocalize with Ipl1p to the spindle midzone, identifying additional proteins that may regulate spindle disassembly. We propose that Ipl1p regulates both the kinetochore and interpolar microtubule plus ends to regulate its various mitotic functions.
Ipl1/Aurora protein kinase; spindle; mitosis; microtubule; budding yeast
The conserved Aurora family of protein kinases have emerged as crucial regulators of mitosis and cytokinesis. Despite their high degree of homology, Aurora A and B have very distinctive localisations and functions: Aurora A associates with the spindle poles to regulate entry into mitosis, centrosome maturation and spindle assembly; Aurora B is a member of the Chromosomal Passenger Complex (CPC) that transfers from the inner centromere in early mitosis to the spindle midzone, equatorial cortex and midbody in late mitosis and cytokinesis. Aurora B functions include regulation of chromosome–microtubule interactions, cohesion, spindle stability and cytokinesis. This review will focus on how interacting proteins make this functional diversity possible by targeting the kinases to different subcellular locations and regulating their activity.
The proper segregation of sister chromatids in mitosis depends on bipolar attachment of all chromosomes to the mitotic spindle. We have identified the small molecule Hesperadin as an inhibitor of chromosome alignment and segregation. Our data imply that Hesperadin causes this phenotype by inhibiting the function of the mitotic kinase Aurora B. Mammalian cells treated with Hesperadin enter anaphase in the presence of numerous monooriented chromosomes, many of which may have both sister kinetochores attached to one spindle pole (syntelic attachment). Hesperadin also causes cells arrested by taxol or monastrol to enter anaphase within <1 h, whereas cells in nocodazole stay arrested for 3–5 h. Together, our data suggest that Aurora B is required to generate unattached kinetochores on monooriented chromosomes, which in turn could promote bipolar attachment as well as maintain checkpoint signaling.
mitosis; chromosome segregation; kinetochores; spindle assembly checkpoint; chemical biology
Aurora B, a protein kinase required in mitosis, localizes to inner centromeres at metaphase and the spindle midzone in anaphase and is required for proper chromosome segregation and cytokinesis. Aurora A, a paralogue of Aurora B, localizes instead to centrosomes and spindle microtubules. Except for distinct N termini, Aurora B and Aurora A have highly similar sequences. We have combined small interfering RNA (siRNA) ablation of Aurora B with overexpression of truncation mutants to investigate the role of Aurora B sequence in its function. Reintroduction of Aurora B during siRNA treatment restored its localization and function. This permitted a restoration of function test to determine the sequence requirements for Aurora B targeting and function. Using this rescue protocol, neither N-terminal truncation of Aurora B unique sequence nor substitution with Aurora A N-terminal sequence affected Aurora B localization or function. Truncation of unique Aurora B C-terminal sequence from terminal residue 344 to residue 333 was without effect, but truncation to 326 abolished localization and function. Deletion of residues 326-333 completely abolished localization and blocked cells at prometaphase, establishing this sequence as critical to Aurora B function. Our findings thus establish a small sequence as essential for the distinct localization and function of Aurora B.
During anaphase, the nonkinetochore microtubules in the spindle midzone become compacted into the central spindle, a structure which is required to both initiate and complete cytokinesis. We show that Tektin 2 (Tek2) associates with the spindle poles throughout mitosis, organizes the spindle midzone microtubules during anaphase, and assembles into the midbody matrix surrounding the compacted midzone microtubules during cytokinesis. Tek2 small interfering RNA (siRNA) disrupts central spindle organization and proper localization of MKLP1, PRC1, and Aurora B to the midzone and prevents the formation of a midbody matrix. Video microscopy revealed that loss of Tek2 results in binucleate cell formation by aberrant fusion of daughter cells after cytokinesis. Although a myosin II inhibitor, blebbistatin, prevents actin-myosin contractility, the microtubules of the central spindle are compacted. Strikingly, Tek2 siRNA abolishes this actin-myosin–independent midzone microtubule compaction. Thus, Tek2-dependent organization of the central spindle during anaphase is essential for proper midbody formation and the segregation of daughter cells after cytokinesis.
A number of proteins accumulate in the spindle midzone and midbody of dividing animal cells. Besides proteins essential for cytokinesis, there are also components essential for interphase functions, suggesting that the spindle midzone and/or midbody may play a role in regulating the following cell cycle.
We microsurgically severed NRK epithelial cells during anaphase or telophase, such that the spindle midzone/midbody was associated with only one of the daughter cells. Time-lapse recording of cells severed during early anaphase indicated that the cell with midzone underwent cytokinesis-like cortical contractions and progressed normally through the interphase, whereas the cell without midzone showed no cortical contraction and an arrest or substantial delay in the progression of interphase. Similar microsurgery during telophase showed a normal progression of interphase for both daughter cells with or without the midbody. Microsurgery of anaphase cells treated with cytochalasin D or nocodazole indicated that interphase progression was independent of cortical ingression but dependent on microtubules.
We conclude that the mitotic spindle is involved in not only the separation of chromosomes but also the regulation of cell cycle. The process may involve activation of components in the spindle midzone that are required for the cell cycle, and/or degradation of components that are required for cytokinesis but may interfere with the cell cycle.
Aneuploidy, frequently observed in premalignant lesions, disrupts gene dosage and contributes to neoplastic progression. Theodor Boveri hypothesized nearly 100 years ago that aneuploidy was due to an increase in centrosome number (multipolar mitoses) and the resultant abnormal segregation of chromosomes. We performed immunocytochemistry, quantitative immunofluorescence, karyotypic analysis, and time-lapse microscopy on primary human diploid epithelial cells and fibroblasts to better understand the mechanism involved in the production of supernumerary centrosomes (more than two microtubule nucleating bodies) to directly demonstrate that the presence of supernumerary centrosomes in genomically intact cells generates aneuploid daughter cells. We show that loss of p16INK4a generates supernumerary centrosomes through centriole pair splitting. Generation of supernumerary centrosomes in human diploid epithelial cells was shown to nucleate multipolar spindles and directly drive production of aneuploid daughter cells as a result of unequal segregation of the genomic material during mitosis. Finally, we demonstrate that p16INK4a cooperates with p21 through regulation of cyclin-dependent kinase activity to prevent centriole pair splitting. Cells with loss of p16INK4a activity have been found in vivo in histologically normal mammary tissue from a substantial fraction of healthy, disease-free women. Demonstration of centrosome dysfunction in cells due to loss of p16INK4a suggests that, under the appropriate conditions, these cells can become aneuploid. Gain or loss of genomic material (aneuploidy) may provide the necessary proproliferation and antiapoptotic mechanisms needed for the earliest stages of tumorigenesis.
Here the authors show that aneuploidy (where a cell has an abnormal number of chromosomes) can be caused by cells having an abnormal number of centrosomes, which leads to asymmetric cell division.
The formation of the central spindle (or the spindle midzone) is essential for cytokinesis in animal cells. In this study, we report that coiled-coil domain-containing protein 69 (CCDC69) is implicated in controlling the assembly of central spindles and the recruitment of midzone components. Exogenous expression of CCDC69 in HeLa cells interfered with microtubule polymerization and disrupted the formation of bipolar mitotic spindles. Endogenous CCDC69 proteins were localized to the central spindle during anaphase. RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated knockdown of CCDC69 led to the formation of aberrant central spindles and disrupted the localization of midzone components such as aurora B kinase, protein regulator of cytokinesis 1 (PRC1), MgcRacGAP/HsCYK-4, and polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) at the central spindle. Aurora B kinase was found to bind to CCDC69 and this binding depended on the coiled-coil domains at the C-terminus of CCDC69. Further, disruption of aurora B function in HeLa cells by treatment with a small chemical inhibitor led to the mislocalization of CCDC69 at the central spindle. Our results indicate that CCDC69 acts as a scaffold to regulate the recruitment of midzone components and the assembly of central spindles.
CCDC69; aurora B; Plk1; central spindles; midzone components; cytokinesis
Cancer cells often have unstable genomes and increased centrosome and chromosome numbers, which play an important part of malignant transformation in the most recent models tumorigenesis. However, very little is known about divisional failures in cancer cells that may lead to chromosomal and centrosomal amplifications. We show here that cancer cells often failed at cytokinesis due to decreased phosphorylation of the myosin regulatory light chain (MLC), a key regulatory component of cortical contraction during division. Reduced MLC phosphorylation was associated with high expression of myosin phosphatase and/or reduced myosin light chain kinase levels. Furthermore, expression of phosphomimetic MLC largely prevented cytokinesis failure in the tested cancer cells. When myosin light chain phosphorylation was restored to normal levels by phosphatase knockdown multinucleation, and multipolar mitosis were both markedly reduced, resulting in enhanced genome stabilization. Furthermore, both overexpression of myosin phosphatase or inhibition of the myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) in nonmalignant cells can recapitulate some of the mitotic defects of cancer cells, including multinucleation and multipolar spindles, indicating these changes are sufficient to reproduce the cytokinesis failures we see in cancer cells. These results for the first time define the molecular defects leading to divisional failure in cancer cells.
cytokinesis; myosin light chain kinase; multinucleation; multipolar spindles; myosin phosphatase; myosin regulatory light chain
Ipl1/Aurora B is the catalytic subunit of a protein kinase complex required for chromosome segregation and nuclear division. Before anaphase, Ipl1 is required to establish proper kinetochore-microtubule associations and to regulate the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC). The phosphatase Glc7/PP1 opposes Ipl1 for these activities. To investigate Ipl1 and Glc7 regulation in more detail, we isolated and characterized mutations in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae that raise the restrictive temperature of the ipl-2 mutant. These suppressors include three intragenic, second-site revertants in IPL1; 17 mutations in Glc7 phosphatase components (GLC7, SDS22, YPI1); two mutations in SHP1, encoding a regulator of the AAA ATPase Cdc48; and a mutation in TCO89, encoding a subunit of the TOR Complex 1. Two revertants contain missense mutations in microtubule binding components of the kinetochore. rev76 contains the missense mutation duo1-S115F, which alters an essential component of the DAM1/DASH complex. The mutant is cold sensitive and arrests in G2/M due to activation of the SAC. rev8 contains the missense mutation ndc80-K204E. K204 of Ndc80 corresponds to K166 of human Ndc80 and the human Ndc80 K166E variant was previously shown to be defective for microtubule binding in vitro. In a wild-type IPL1 background, ndc80-K204E cells grow slowly and the SAC is activated. The slow growth and cell cycle delay of ndc80-K204E cells are partially alleviated by the ipl1-2 mutation. These data provide biological confirmation of a biochemically based model for the effect of phosphorylation on Ndc80 function.
Aurora B; IPl1; kinetochore; NDC80; GLC7
Polo-like kinases control multiple events during cell division, including mitotic entry, centrosome organization, spindle formation, chromosome segregation and cytokinesis. Their roles during cytokinesis, however, are not well understood because the requirement of these kinases during early stages of mitosis complicates the study of their functions after anaphase onset.
We used time-lapse microscopy to analyze the dynamics of Polo::GFP in Drosophila tissue culture cells during mitosis. After anaphase onset, Polo::GFP concentrated at the spindle midzone, but also diffused along the entire length of the central spindle. Using RNA interference we demonstrate that the microtubule-associated proteins Feo and Klp3A are required for Polo recruitment to the spindle midzone, but not the kinesin Pavarotti as previously thought. Moreover, we show that Feo and Klp3A form a complex and that Polo co-localizes with both proteins during cytokinesis.
Our results reveal that the Feo/Klp3A complex is necessary for Polo recruitment to the spindle midzone. A similar finding has also been recently reported in mammalian cells , suggesting that this basic mechanism has been conserved during evolution, albeit with some differences. Finally, since cleavage furrow formation and ingression are unaffected following feo RNAi, our data imply that Polo recruitment to the central spindle is not required for furrowing, but some other aspect of cytokinesis.
Aurora B kinase plays essential roles in mitosis and cytokinesis in eukaryotes. In the procyclic form of Trypanosoma brucei, the Aurora B homolog TbAUK1 regulates mitosis and cytokinesis, phosphorylates the Tousled-like kinase TbTLK1, interacts with two mitotic kinesins TbKIN-A and TbKIN-B and forms a novel chromosomal passenger complex (CPC) with two novel proteins TbCPC1 and TbCPC2. Here we show with time-lapse video microscopy the time course of CPC trans-localization from the spindle midzone in late anaphase to the dorsal side of the cell where the anterior end of daughter cell is tethered, and followed by a glide toward the posterior end to divide the cell, representing a novel mode of cytokinesis in eukaryotes. The three subunits of CPC, TbKIN-B and TbTLK1 interact with one another suggesting a close association among the five proteins. An ablation of TbTLK1 inhibited the subsequent trans-localization of CPC and TbKIN-B, whereas a knockdown of CPC or TbKIN-B disrupted the spindle pole localization of TbTLK1 during mitosis. In the bloodstream form of T. brucei, the five proteins also play essential roles in chromosome segregation and cytokinesis and display subcellular localization patterns similar to that in the procyclic form. The CPC in bloodstream form also undergoes a trans-localization during cytokinesis similar to that in the procyclic form. All together, our results indicate that the five-protein complex CPC-TbTLK1-TbKIN-B plays key roles in regulating chromosome segregation in the early phase of mitosis and that the highly unusual mode of cytokinesis mediated by CPC occurs in both forms of trypanosomes.
It is known that aurora B, a chromosomal passenger protein responsible for the proper progression of mitosis and cytokinesis, is overexpressed throughout the cell cycle in cancer cells. Overexpression of aurora B produced multinuclearity and induced aggressive metastasis, suggesting that overexpressed aurora B has multiple functions in cancer development. However, the detailed dynamics and functions of overexpressed aurora B are poorly understood.
We overexpressed GFP fused aurora B kinase in normal rat kidney epithelial cells. Using spinning disk confocal microscopy, we found that overexpressed aurora B-GFP was predominantly localized in the nucleus and along the cortex as a dot-like or short filamentous structure during interphase. Time-lapse imaging revealed that a cytoplasmic fraction of overexpressed aurora B-GFP was incorporated into the nucleus after cell division. Immunofluorescence studies showed that the nuclear fraction of overexpressed aurora B did not induce ectopic phosphorylation of histone H3 after cell division. The cytoplasmic fraction of overexpressed aurora B-GFP was mainly associated with cortical actin filaments but not stress fibers. Myosin II regulatory light chain, one of the possible targets for aurora B, did not colocalize with cortical aurora B-GFP, suggesting that overexpressed aurora B did not promote phosphorylation of myosin II regulatory light chain in interphase cells.
We conclude that overexpressed aurora B has a specific localization pattern in interphase cells. Based on our findings, we propose that overexpressed aurora B targets the nuclear and cortical proteins during interphase, which may contribute to cancer development and tumor metastasis.
Temporally and spatially controlled activation of the Aurora-A kinase (AURKA) is regulates centrosome maturation, entry into mitosis, formation and function of the bipolar spindle, and cytokinesis. Genetic amplification, and mRNA and protein overexpression of Aurora-A are common in many types of solid tumor, and associated with aneuploidy, supernumerary centrosomes, defective mitotic spindles, and resistance to apoptosis. These properties have led Aurora-A to be considered a high value target for development of cancer therapeutics, with multiple agents currently in early phase clinical trials. More recently, identification of additional, non-mitotic functions and means of activation of Aurora-A during interphase neurite elongation and ciliary resorption have significantly expanded understanding of its function, and may offer insights into clinical performance of Aurora-A inhibitors. We here review mitotic and non-mitotic functions of Aurora-A, discuss Aurora-A regulation in the context of protein structural information, and evaluate progress in understanding and inhibiting Aurora-A in cancer.
Aurora-A; AURKA; cancer; mitosis; cell cycle; kinase; centrosome; cilia
The Aurora/Ipl1 family of protein kinases plays multiple roles in mitosis and cytokinesis. Here, we describe ZM447439, a novel selective Aurora kinase inhibitor. Cells treated with ZM447439 progress through interphase, enter mitosis normally, and assemble bipolar spindles. However, chromosome alignment, segregation, and cytokinesis all fail. Despite the presence of maloriented chromosomes, ZM447439-treated cells exit mitosis with normal kinetics, indicating that the spindle checkpoint is compromised. Indeed, ZM447439 prevents mitotic arrest after exposure to paclitaxel. RNA interference experiments suggest that these phenotypes are due to inhibition of Aurora B, not Aurora A or some other kinase. In the absence of Aurora B function, kinetochore localization of the spindle checkpoint components BubR1, Mad2, and Cenp-E is diminished. Furthermore, inhibition of Aurora B kinase activity prevents the rebinding of BubR1 to metaphase kinetochores after a reduction in centromeric tension. Aurora B kinase activity is also required for phosphorylation of BubR1 on entry into mitosis. Finally, we show that BubR1 is not only required for spindle checkpoint function, but is also required for chromosome alignment. Together, these results suggest that by targeting checkpoint proteins to kinetochores, Aurora B couples chromosome alignment with anaphase onset.
mitosis; spindle checkpoint; chemical biology; aneuploidy; ZM447439
Centralspindlin is essential for the formation of microtubule bundle structures such as the central spindle and midbody and the equatorial recruitment of factors critical for cytokinesis [1, 2]. Stable accumulation of centralspindlin at the spindle midzone requires both its multimerisation into clusters  and the activity of the chromosomal passenger complex (CPC) [4-10], which peaks at the central spindle during anaphase [11, 12]. Although Aurora B, the kinase component of the CPC, phosphorylates centralspindlin directly [13-17], how this regulates centralspindlin localisation is unknown. Here we identify a novel regulatory mechanism by which Aurora B enables centralspindlin to accumulate stably at the spindle midzone. We show that 14-3-3 protein binds centralspindlin when the kinesin-6 component, MKLP1, is phosphorylated at S710. 14-3-3 prevents centralspindlin from clustering in vitro and an MKLP1 mutant that is unable to bind 14-3-3 forms aberrant clusters in vivo. Interestingly, 14-3-3 binding is inhibited by phosphorylation of S708, a known Aurora B target site that lies within the motif bound by 14-3-3. S708 phosphorylation is required for MKLP1 to stably localise to the central spindle, but is dispensable in an MKLP1 mutant that does not bind 14-3-3. Based on these observations, we propose that 14-3-3 serves as a global inhibitor of centralspindlin that allows Aurora B to locally activate clustering and the stable accumulation of centralspindlin between segregating chromosomes.
It is critical to elucidate the pathways that mediate spindle assembly and therefore ensure accurate chromosome segregation during cell division. Our studies of a unique allele of the budding yeast Ipl1/Aurora protein kinase revealed that it is required for centrosome-mediated spindle assembly in the absence of the BimC motor protein Cin8. In addition, we found that the Ase1 spindle midzone-associated protein is required for bipolar spindle assembly. The cin8 ipl1 and cin8 ase1 double mutant cells exhibit similar defects, and Ase1 overexpression completely restores spindle assembly in cin8 ipl1 strains. Consistent with the possibility that Ipl1 regulates Ase1, an ase1 mutant lacking the Ipl1 consensus phosphorylation sites cannot assemble spindles in the absence of Cin8. In addition, Ase1 phosphorylation and localization were altered in an ipl1 mutant. We therefore propose that Ipl1/Aurora and Ase1 constitute a previously unidentified spindle assembly pathway that becomes essential in the absence of Cin8.
Mitotic kinases of the Polo and Aurora families are key regulators of chromosome segregation and cytokinesis. Here, we have investigated the role of MKlp1 and MKlp2, two vertebrate mitotic kinesins essential for cytokinesis, in the spatial regulation of the Aurora B kinase. Previously, we have demonstrated that MKlp2 recruits Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) to the central spindle in anaphase. We now find that in MKlp2 but not MKlp1-depleted cells the Aurora B–INCENP complex remains at the centromeres and fails to relocate to the central spindle. MKlp2 exerts dual control over Aurora B localization, because it is a binding partner for Aurora B, and furthermore for the phosphatase Cdc14A. Cdc14A can dephosphorylate INCENP and may contribute to its relocation to the central spindle in anaphase. We propose that MKlp2 is involved in the localization of Plk1, Aurora B, and Cdc14A to the central spindle during anaphase, and that the integration of signaling by these proteins is necessary for proper cytokinesis.
passenger proteins; mitotic kinesins; MKlp1; rabkinesin-6; cytokinesis
An emerging family of kinases related to the Drosophila Aurora and budding yeast Ipl1 proteins has been implicated in chromosome segregation and mitotic spindle formation in a number of organisms. Unlike other Aurora/Ipl1-related kinases, the Caenorhabditis elegans orthologue, AIR-2, is associated with meiotic and mitotic chromosomes. AIR-2 is initially localized to the chromosomes of the most mature prophase I–arrested oocyte residing next to the spermatheca. This localization is dependent on the presence of sperm in the spermatheca. After fertilization, AIR-2 remains associated with chromosomes during each meiotic division. However, during both meiotic anaphases, AIR-2 is present between the separating chromosomes. AIR-2 also remains associated with both extruded polar bodies. In the embryo, AIR-2 is found on metaphase chromosomes, moves to midbody microtubules at anaphase, and then persists at the cytokinesis remnant. Disruption of AIR-2 expression by RNA- mediated interference produces entire broods of one-cell embryos that have executed multiple cell cycles in the complete absence of cytokinesis. The embryos accumulate large amounts of DNA and microtubule asters. Polar bodies are not extruded, but remain in the embryo where they continue to replicate. The cytokinesis defect appears to be late in the cell cycle because transient cleavage furrows initiate at the proper location, but regress before the division is complete. Additionally, staining with a marker of midbody microtubules revealed that at least some of the components of the midbody are not well localized in the absence of AIR-2 activity. Our results suggest that during each meiotic and mitotic division, AIR-2 may coordinate the congression of metaphase chromosomes with the subsequent events of polar body extrusion and cytokinesis.
cytokinesis; Aurora; chromosomes; meiosis; polar bodies; RNAi
Annexins are Ca2+-binding, membrane-fusogenic proteins with diverse but poorly understood functions. Here, we show that during cell cycle progression annexin 11 translocates from the nucleus to the spindle poles in metaphase and to the spindle midzone in anaphase. Annexin 11 is recruited to the midbody in late telophase, where it forms part of the detergent-resistant matrix that also contains CHO1. To investigate the significance of these observations, we used RNA interference to deplete cells of annexin 11. A combination of confocal and video time-lapse microscopy revealed that cells lacking annexin 11 fail to establish a functional midbody. Instead, daughter cells remain connected by intercellular bridges that contain bundled microtubules and cytoplasmic organelles but exclude normal midbody components such as MKLP1 and Aurora B. Annexin 11–depleted cells failed to complete cytokinesis and died by apoptosis. These findings demonstrate an essential role for annexin 11 in the terminal phase of cytokinesis.
calcium; mitosis; telophase; cell cycle; kinesin
Survivin is a member of the chromosomal passenger complex implicated in kinetochore attachment, bipolar spindle formation, and cytokinesis. However, the mechanism by which survivin modulates these processes is unknown. Here, we show by time-lapse imaging of cells expressing either green fluorescent protein (GFP)-α-tubulin or the microtubule plus-end binding protein GFP-EB1 that depletion of survivin by small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) increased both the number of microtubules nucleated by centrosomes and the incidence of microtubule catastrophe, the transition from microtubule growth to shrinking. In contrast, survivin overexpression reduced centrosomal microtubule nucleation and suppressed both microtubule dynamics in mitotic spindles and bidirectional growth of microtubules in midbodies during cytokinesis. siRNA depletion or pharmacologic inhibition of another chromosomal passenger protein Aurora B, had no effect on microtubule dynamics or nucleation in interphase or mitotic cells even though mitosis was impaired. We propose a model in which survivin modulates several mitotic events, including spindle and interphase microtubule organization, the spindle assembly checkpoint and cytokinesis through its ability to modulate microtubule nucleation and dynamics. This pathway may affect the microtubule-dependent generation of aneuploidy and defects in cell polarity in cancer cells, where survivin is commonly up-regulated.
Aurora B is a protein kinase and a chromosomal passenger protein that undergoes dynamic redistribution during mitosis. We have probed the mechanism that regulates its localization with cells expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged wild-type or mutant aurora B. Aurora B was found at centromeres at prophase and persisted until ∼0.5 min after anaphase onset, when it redistributed to the spindle midzone and became concentrated at the equator along midzone microtubules. Depolymerization of microtubules inhibited the dissociation of aurora B from centromeres at early anaphase and caused the dispersion of aurora B from the spindle midzone at late anaphase; however, centromeric association during prometaphase was unaffected. Inhibition of CDK1 deactivation similarly caused aurora B to remain associated with centromeres during anaphase. In contrast, inhibition of the kinase activity of aurora B appeared to have no effect on its interactions with centromeres or initial relocation onto midzone microtubules. Instead, kinase-inactive aurora B caused abnormal mitosis and deactivation of the spindle checkpoint. In addition, midzone microtubule bundles became destabilized and aurora B dispersed from the equator. Our results suggest that microtubules, CDK1, and the kinase activity each play a distinct role in the dynamics and functions of aurora B in dividing cells.
Alarge body of work indicates that chromosomes play a key role in the assembly of both acentrosomal and centrosome-containing spindles. In animal systems, the absence of chromosomes either prevents spindle formation or allows the assembly of a metaphase-like spindle that fails to evolve into an ana-telophase spindle. Here, we show that Drosophila secondary spermatocytes can assemble morphologically normal spindles in the absence of chromosomes. The Drosophila mutants fusolo and solofuso are severely defective in chromosome segregation and produce secondary spermatocytes that are devoid of chromosomes. The centrosomes of these anucleated cells form robust asters that give rise to bipolar spindles that undergo the same ana-telophase morphological transformations that characterize normal spindles. The cells containing chromosome-free spindles are also able to assemble regular cytokinetic structures and cleave normally. In addition, chromosome-free spindles normally accumulate the Aurora B kinase at their midzones. This suggests that the association of Aurora B with chromosomes is not a prerequisite for its accumulation at the central spindle, or for its function during cytokinesis.
chromosome segregation; chromosome passengers; Aura B; centrosome; microtubule
Aurora kinases are highly conserved proteins with important roles in mitosis. Metazoans contain two kinases, Aurora A and B, which contribute distinct functions at the spindle poles and the equatorial region respectively. It is not currently known whether the specialized functions of the two kinases arose after their duplication in animal cells or were already present in their ancestral kinase. We show that Dictyostelium discoideum contains a single Aurora kinase, DdAurora, that displays characteristics of both Aurora A and B. Like Aurora A, DdAurora has an extended N-terminal domain with an A-box sequence and localizes at the spindle poles during early mitosis. Like Aurora B, DdAurora binds to its partner DdINCENP and localizes on centromeres at metaphase, the central spindle during anaphase, and the cleavage furrow at the end of cytokinesis. DdAurora also has several unusual properties. DdAurora remains associated with centromeres in anaphase, and this association does not require an interaction with DdINCENP. DdAurora then localizes at the cleavage furrow, but only at the end of cytokinesis. This localization is dependent on DdINCENP and the motor proteins Kif12 and myosin II. Thus, DdAurora may represent the ancestral kinase that gave rise to the different Aurora kinases in animals and also those in other organisms.
The correct assembly and timely disassembly of the mitotic spindle is crucial for the propagation of the genome during cell division. Aurora kinases play a central role in orchestrating bipolar spindle establishment, chromosome alignment and segregation. In most eukaryotes, ranging from amoebas to humans, Aurora activity appears to be required both at the spindle pole and the kinetochore, and these activities are often split between two different Aurora paralogues, termed Aurora A and B. Polar and equatorial functions of Aurora kinases have generally been considered separately, with Aurora A being mostly involved in centrosome dynamics, whereas Aurora B coordinates kinetochore attachment and cytokinesis. However, double inactivation of both Aurora A and B results in a dramatic synergy that abolishes chromosome segregation. This suggests that these two activities jointly coordinate mitotic progression. Accordingly, recent evidence suggests that Aurora A and B work together in both spindle assembly in metaphase and disassembly in anaphase. Here, we provide an outlook on these shared functions of the Auroras, discuss the evolution of this family of mitotic kinases and speculate why Aurora kinase activity may be required at both ends of the spindle microtubules.
Aurora kinases; microtubules; chromosome segregation; kinesin; Aurora evolution