The spindle assembly checkpoint monitors the attachment of kinetochores to the mitotic spindle and the tension exerted on kinetochores by microtubules and delays the onset of anaphase until all the chromosomes are aligned at the metaphase plate. The target of the checkpoint control is the anaphase-promoting complex (APC)/cyclosome, a ubiquitin ligase whose activation by Cdc20 is required for separation of sister chromatids. In response to activation of the checkpoint, Mad2 binds to and inhibits Cdc20-APC. I show herein that in checkpoint-arrested cells, human Cdc20 forms two separate, inactive complexes, a lower affinity complex with Mad2 and a higher affinity complex with BubR1. Purified BubR1 binds to recombinant Cdc20 and this interaction is direct. Binding of BubR1 to Cdc20 inhibits activation of APC and this inhibition is independent of its kinase activity. Quantitative analysis indicates that BubR1 is 12-fold more potent than Mad2 as an inhibitor of Cdc20. Although at high protein concentrations BubR1 and Mad2 each is sufficient to inhibit Cdc20, BubR1 and Mad2 mutually promote each other's binding to Cdc20 and function synergistically at physiological concentrations to quantitatively inhibit Cdc20-APC. Thus, BubR1 and Mad2 act cooperatively to prevent premature separation of sister chromatids by directly inhibiting APC.
The spindle checkpoint prevents errors in chromosome segregation by inhibiting anaphase onset until all chromosomes have aligned at the spindle equator through attachment of their sister kinetochores to microtubules from opposite spindle poles. A key checkpoint component is the mitotic arrest–deficient protein 2 (Mad2), which localizes to unattached kinetochores and inhibits activation of the anaphase-promoting complex (APC) through an interaction with Cdc20. Recent studies have suggested a catalytic model for kinetochore function where unattached kinetochores provide sites for assembling and releasing Mad2–Cdc20 complexes, which sequester Cdc20 and prevent it from activating the APC. To test this model, we examined Mad2 dynamics in living PtK1 cells that were either injected with fluorescently labeled Alexa 488-XMad2 or transfected with GFP-hMAD2. Real-time, digital imaging revealed fluorescent Mad2 localized to unattached kinetochores, spindle poles, and spindle fibers depending on the stage of mitosis. FRAP measurements showed that Mad2 is a transient component of unattached kinetochores, as predicted by the catalytic model, with a t1/2 of ∼24–28 s. Cells entered anaphase ∼10 min after Mad2 was no longer detectable on the kinetochores of the last chromosome to congress to the metaphase plate. Several observations indicate that Mad2 binding sites are translocated from kinetochores to spindle poles along microtubules. First, Mad2 that bound to sites on a kinetochore was dynamically stretched in both directions upon microtubule interactions, and Mad2 particles moved from kinetochores toward the poles. Second, spindle fiber and pole fluorescence disappeared upon Mad2 disappearance at the kinetochores. Third, ATP depletion resulted in microtubule-dependent depletion of Mad2 fluorescence at kinetochores and increased fluorescence at spindle poles. Finally, in normal cells, the half-life of Mad2 turnover at poles, 23 s, was similar to kinetochores. Thus, kinetochore-derived sites along spindle fibers and at spindle poles may also catalyze Mad2 inhibitory complex formation.
cell cycle; mitosis; spindle checkpoint; chromosome; microtubule
Mitotic progression is driven by proteolytic destruction of securin and cyclins. These proteins are labeled for destruction by an ubiquitin-protein isopeptide ligase (E3) known as the anaphase-promoting complex or cyclosome (APC/C). The APC/C requires activators (Cdc20 or Cdh1) to efficiently recognize its substrates, which are specified by destruction (D box) and/or KEN box signals. The spindle assembly checkpoint responds to unattached kinetochores and to kinetochores lacking tension, both of which reflect incomplete biorientation of chromosomes, by delaying the onset of anaphase. It does this by inhibiting Cdc20-APC/C. Certain checkpoint proteins interact directly with Cdc20, but it remains unclear how the checkpoint acts to efficiently inhibit Cdc20-APC/C activity. In the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, we find that the Mad3 and Mad2 spindle checkpoint proteins interact stably with the APC/C in mitosis. Mad3 contains two KEN boxes, conserved from yeast Mad3 to human BubR1, and mutation of either of these abrogates the spindle checkpoint. Strikingly, mutation of the N-terminal KEN box abolishes incorporation of Mad3 into the mitotic checkpoint complex (Mad3-Mad2-Slp1 in S. pombe, where Slp1 is the Cdc20 homolog that we will refer to as Cdc20 hereafter) and stable association of both Mad3 and Mad2 with the APC/C. Our findings demonstrate that this Mad3 KEN box is a critical mediator of Cdc20-APC/C inhibition, without which neither Mad3 nor Mad2 can associate with the APC/C or inhibit anaphase onset.
Cyclin A outcompetes inhibitory spindle assembly checkpoint proteins for binding to the APC/C ubiquitin ligase coactivator Cdc20 to promote its self-destruction even when the checkpoint is active (see also a paper from van Zon et al., in this issue).
The anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) is the ubiquitin ligase essential to mitosis, which ensures that specific proteins are degraded at specific times to control the order of mitotic events. The APC/C coactivator, Cdc20, is targeted by the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) to restrict APC/C activity until metaphase, yet early substrates, such as cyclin A, are degraded in the presence of the active checkpoint. Cdc20 and the cyclin-dependent kinase cofactor, Cks, are required for cyclin A destruction, but how they enable checkpoint-resistant destruction has not been elucidated. In this study, we answer this problem: we show that the N terminus of cyclin A binds directly to Cdc20 and with sufficient affinity that it can outcompete the SAC proteins. Subsequently, the Cks protein is necessary and sufficient to promote cyclin A degradation in the presence of an active checkpoint by binding cyclin A–Cdc20 to the APC/C.
The execution of the mitotic program with high fidelity is dependent upon precise spatiotemporal regulation of posttranslational protein modifications. For example, the timely polyubiquitination of critical mitotic regulators by Anaphase Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C) is essential for the metaphase to anaphase transition and mitotic exit. The spindle assembly checkpoint prevents unscheduled activity of APC/C-Cdc20 in early mitosis, allowing bipolar attachment of kinetochores to mitotic spindle and facilitating equal segregation of sister chromatids. The critical effector of the spindle checkpoint, Mitotic arrest deficient 2 (Mad2), is recruited to unattached kinetochores forming a complex with other regulatory proteins to efficiently and cooperatively inhibit APC/C-Cdc20. A weakened and/or dysfunctional spindle checkpoint has been linked to the development of genomic instability in both cell culture and animal models, and evidence suggests that aberrant regulation of the spindle checkpoint plays a critical role in human carcinogenesis. Recent studies have illuminated a network of both degradative and non-degradative ubiquitination events that regulate the metaphase to anaphase transition and mitotic exit. Within this context, our recent work showed that the HECT (Homologous to E6-AP C-terminus)-family E3 ligase Smurf2 (Smad specific ubiquitin regulatory factor 2), known as a negative regulator of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) signaling, is required for a functional spindle checkpoint by promoting the functional localization and stability of Mad2. Here we discuss putative models explaining the role of Smurf2 as a new regulator in the spindle checkpoint. The dynamic mitotic localization of Smurf2 to the centrosome and other critical mitotic structures provides implications about mitotic checkpoint control dependent on various ubiquitination events. Finally, deregulated Smurf2 activity may contribute to carcinogenesis by perturbed mitotic control.
Once all chromosomes are connected to the mitotic spindle (bioriented), anaphase is initiated by the protein ubiquitylation activity of the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) and its coactivator Cdc20 (APC/CCdc20). Before chromosome biorientation, anaphase is delayed by a mitotic checkpoint complex (MCC) that inhibits APC/CCdc20. We used single-particle electron microscopy to obtain three-dimensional models of human APC/C in various functional states: bound to MCC, to Cdc20, or to neither (apo-APC/C). These experiments revealed that MCC associates with the Cdc20 binding site on APC/C, locks the otherwise flexible APC/C in a “closed” state, and prevents binding and ubiquitylation of a wide range of different APC/C substrates. These observations clarify the structural basis for the inhibition of APC/C by spindle checkpoint proteins.
Activation of the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) by Cdc20 is critical for the metaphase–anaphase transition. APC/C-Cdc20 is required for polyubiquitination and degradation of securin and cyclin B at anaphase onset. The spindle assembly checkpoint delays APC/C-Cdc20 activation until all kinetochores attach to mitotic spindles. In this study, we demonstrate that a HECT (homologous to the E6-AP carboxyl terminus) ubiquitin ligase, Smurf2, is required for the spindle checkpoint. Smurf2 localizes to the centrosome, mitotic midbody, and centromeres. Smurf2 depletion or the expression of a catalytically inactive Smurf2 results in misaligned and lagging chromosomes, premature anaphase onset, and defective cytokinesis. Smurf2 inactivation prevents nocodazole-treated cells from accumulating cyclin B and securin and prometaphase arrest. The silencing of Cdc20 in Smurf2-depleted cells restores mitotic accumulation of cyclin B and securin. Smurf2 depletion results in enhanced polyubiquitination and degradation of Mad2, a critical checkpoint effector. Mad2 is mislocalized in Smurf2-depleted cells, suggesting that Smurf2 regulates the localization and stability of Mad2. These data indicate that Smurf2 is a novel mitotic regulator.
Cyclin A is a stable protein in S and G2 phases, but is destabilized when cells enter mitosis and is almost completely degraded before the metaphase to anaphase transition. Microinjection of antibodies against subunits of the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) or against human Cdc20 (fizzy) arrested cells at metaphase and stabilized both cyclins A and B1. Cyclin A was efficiently polyubiquitylated by Cdc20 or Cdh1-activated APC/C in vitro, but in contrast to cyclin B1, the proteolysis of cyclin A was not delayed by the spindle assembly checkpoint. The degradation of cyclin B1 was accelerated by inhibition of the spindle assembly checkpoint. These data suggest that the APC/C is activated as cells enter mitosis and immediately targets cyclin A for degradation, whereas the spindle assembly checkpoint delays the degradation of cyclin B1 until the metaphase to anaphase transition. The “destruction box” (D-box) of cyclin A is 10–20 residues longer than that of cyclin B. Overexpression of wild-type cyclin A delayed the metaphase to anaphase transition, whereas expression of cyclin A mutants lacking a D-box arrested cells in anaphase.
cyclin A; ubiquitin; APC/C; spindle assembly checkpoint; mitosis
Faithful chromosome segregation during mitosis depends on the Spindle Assembly Checkpoint (SAC) that monitors kinetochore attachment to the mitotic spindle. Unattached kinetochores generate mitotic checkpoint proteins complexes (MCCs) that bind and inhibit the Anaphase Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C). How the SAC proficiently inhibits the APC/C but still allows its rapid activation when the last kinetochore attaches to the spindle is important to understand how cells maintain genomic stability. We show that the APC/C subunit APC15 is required for the turnover of the APC/C co-activator Cdc20 and release of MCCs during SAC signalling but not for APC/C activity per se. In the absence of APC15, MCCs and ubiquitylated Cdc20 remain ‘locked’ onto the APC/C, which prevents the ubiquitylation and degradation of Cyclin B1 when the SAC is satisfied. We conclude that APC15 mediates the constant turnover of Cdc20 and MCCs on the APC/C to allow the SAC to respond to the attachment state of kinetochores.
The Spindle Assembly Checkpoint (SAC) is required to block sister chromatid separation until all chromosomes are properly attached to the mitotic apparatus. The SAC prevents cells entering anaphase by inhibiting the ubiquitination of cyclin B1 and securin by the Anaphase Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C) ubiquitin ligase. The target of the SAC is the essential APC/C activator, Cdc20. It is unclear how the SAC inactivates Cdc20 but current models mostly involve Cdc20 forming a stable complex with the Mad2 checkpoint protein. Here we show that most Cdc20 is not in a complex with Mad2; instead Mad2 is required for Cdc20 to form a complex with another checkpoint protein, BubR1. We further show that during the SAC the APC/C ubiquitinates Cdc20 to target it for degradation. Thus, ubiquitination of human Cdc20 is not required to release it from the checkpoint complex, but to degrade it to maintain mitotic arrest.
The spindle checkpoint is a surveillance system acting in mitosis to delay anaphase onset until all chromosomes are properly attached to the mitotic spindle [1, 2]. When the checkpoint is activated, the Mad2 and Mad3 proteins directly bind and inhibit Cdc20, which is an essential activator of an E3 ubiquitin ligase known as the anaphase-promoting complex (APC) . When the checkpoint is satisfied, Cdc20-APC is activated and polyubiquitinates securin and cyclin, leading to the dissolution of sister chromatid cohesion and mitotic progression. Several protein kinases play critical roles in spindle checkpoint signaling, but the mechanism (or mechanisms) by which they inhibit mitotic progression remains unclear . Furthermore, it is not known whether their activity needs to be reversed by protein phosphatases before anaphase onset can occur. Here we employ fission yeast to show that Aurora (Ark1) kinase activity is directly required to maintain spindle checkpoint arrest, even in the presence of many unattached kinetochores. Upon Ark1 inhibition, checkpoint complexes are disassembled and cyclin B is rapidly degraded. Importantly, checkpoint silencing and cyclin B degradation require the kinetochore-localized isoform of protein phosphatase 1 (PP1Dis2). We propose that PP1Dis2-mediated dephosphorylation of checkpoint components forms a novel spindle checkpoint silencing mechanism.
Mitotic progression is controlled by proteolytic destruction of securin and cyclin. The mitotic E3 ubiquitin ligase, known as the anaphase promoting complex or cyclosome (APC/C), in partnership with its activators Cdc20p and Cdh1p, targets these proteins for degradation. In the presence of defective kinetochore-microtubule interactions, APC/CCdc20 is inhibited by the spindle checkpoint, thereby delaying anaphase onset and providing more time for spindle assembly. Cdc20p interacts directly with Mad2p, and its levels are subject to careful regulation, but the precise mode(s) of APC/C Cdc20 inhibition remain unclear. The mitotic checkpoint complex (MCC, consisting of Mad3p, Mad2p, Bub3p and Cdc20p in budding yeast) is a potent APC/C inhibitor. Here we focus on Mad3p and how it acts, in concert with Mad2p, to efficiently inhibit Cdc20p. We identify and analyse the function of two motifs in Mad3p, KEN30 and KEN296, which are conserved from yeast Mad3p to human BubR1. These KEN amino acid sequences resemble ‘degron’ signals that confer interaction with APC/C activators and target proteins for degradation. We show that both Mad3p KEN boxes are necessary for spindle checkpoint function. Mutation of KEN30 abolished MCC formation and stabilised Cdc20p in mitosis. In addition, mutation of Mad3-KEN30, APC/C subunits, or Cdh1p, stabilised Mad3p in G1, indicating that the N-terminal KEN box could be a Mad3p degron. To determine the significance of Mad3p turnover, we analysed the consequences of MAD3 overexpression and found that four-fold overproduction of Mad3p led to chromosome bi-orientation defects and significant chromosome loss during recovery from anti-microtubule drug induced checkpoint arrest. In conclusion, Mad3p KEN30 mediates interactions that regulate the proteolytic turnover of Cdc20p and Mad3p, and the levels of both of these proteins are critical for spindle checkpoint signaling and high fidelity chromosome segregation.
Microtubule targeting drugs are successful in chemotherapy because they indefinitely activate the spindle assembly checkpoint. The spindle assembly checkpoint monitors proper attachment of all kinetochores to microtubules and tension between the kinetochores of sister chromatids to prevent premature anaphase entry. To this end, the activated spindle assembly checkpoint suppresses the E3 ubiquitin ligase activity of the anaphase-promoting complex (APC). In the continued presence of conditions that activate the spindle assembly checkpoint, cells eventually escape from mitosis by “slippage”. It has not been directly tested whether APC activation accompanies slippage. Using cells blocked in mitosis with the microtubule assembly inhibitor nocodazole, we show that mitotic APC substrates are degraded upon mitotic slippage. To confirm that APC is normally activated upon mitotic slippage we have found that knockdown of Cdc20 and Cdh1, two mitotic activators of APC, prevents the degradation of APC substrates during mitotic slippage. We provide the first direct demonstration that despite conditions that activate the spindle checkpoint, APC is indeed activated upon mitotic slippage of cells to interphase cells. Activation of the spindle checkpoint by microtubule targeting drugs used in chemotherapy may not indefinitely prevent APC activation.
anaphase promoting complex; Cdc20; Cdh1; mitotic slippage; spindle assembly checkpoint
The mitotic checkpoint blocks cell cycle progression before anaphase in case of mistakes in the alignment of chromosomes on the mitotic spindle. In budding yeast, the Mad1, 2, 3, and Bub1, 2, 3 proteins mediate this arrest. Vertebrate homologues of Mad1, 2, 3, and Bub1, 3 bind to unattached kinetochores and prevent progression through mitosis by inhibiting Cdc20/APC-mediated proteolysis of anaphase inhibitors, like Pds1 and B-type cyclins. We investigated the role of Bub2 in budding yeast mitotic checkpoint. The following observations indicate that Bub2 and Mad1, 2 probably activate the checkpoint via different pathways: (a) unlike the other Mad and Bub proteins, Bub2 localizes at the spindle pole body (SPB) throughout the cell cycle; (b) the effect of concomitant lack of Mad1 or Mad2 and Bub2 is additive, since nocodazole-treated mad1 bub2 and mad2 bub2 double mutants rereplicate DNA more rapidly and efficiently than either single mutant; (c) cell cycle progression of bub2 cells in the presence of nocodazole requires the Cdc26 APC subunit, which, conversely, is not required for mad2 cells in the same conditions. Altogether, our data suggest that activation of the mitotic checkpoint blocks progression through mitosis by independent and partially redundant mechanisms.
budding yeast; Bub2; mitotic checkpoint; anaphase; anaphase-promoting complex
The spindle checkpoint ensures accurate chromosome transmission by delaying chromosome segregation until all chromosomes are correctly aligned on the mitotic spindle. The checkpoint is activated by kinetochores that are not attached to microtubules or are attached but not under tension and arrests cells at metaphase by inhibiting the anaphase-promoting complex (APC) and its co-activator Cdc20. Despite numerous studies, we still do not understand how the checkpoint proteins coordinate with each other to inhibit APCCdc20 activity.
To ask how the checkpoint components induce metaphase arrest, we constructed fusions of checkpoint proteins and expressed them in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to mimic possible protein interactions during checkpoint activation. We found that expression of a Mad2-Mad3 protein fusion or non-covalently linked Mad2 and Mad3, but not the overexpression of the two separate proteins, induces metaphase arrest that is independent of functional kinetochores or other checkpoint proteins. We further showed that artificially tethering Mad2 to Cdc20 also arrests cells in metaphase independently of other checkpoint components.
Our results suggest that Mad3 is required for the stable binding of Mad2 to Cdc20 in vivo, which is sufficient to inhibit APC activity and is the most downstream event in spindle checkpoint activation.
The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) is an important mechanism that prevents the separation of sister chromatids until the microtubules radiating from the spindle poles are correctly attached to the kinetochores. Cdc20, an activator of the Anaphase Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C), is known as a major downstream target for inhibition by the SAC through the binding of mitotic checkpoint proteins, such as Mad2 and BubR1. Here, we report that the SAC also negatively regulates the stability of Cdc20 by targeting it for proteasome-dependent degradation. Once the checkpoint is activated by spindle poisons, a major population of Cdc20 is degraded via APC/C, an event that requires the binding of Cdc20 to Mad2. We propose that the degradation of Cdc20 represents a critical control mechanism to ensure inactivation of APC/CCdc20 in response to the SAC.
Cdc20; spindle checkpoint; APC/C; Mad2; mitosis
Progress through mitosis requires that the right protein be degraded at the right time. One ubiquitin ligase, the Anaphase Promoting Complex or Cyclosome (APC-C) targets most of the crucial mitotic regulators by changing its substrate specificity throughout mitosis. The Spindle Assembly Checkpoint (SAC) acts on the APC-C co-activator, Cdc20 to block the degradation of metaphase substrates, e.g.: Cyclin B1 and securin, but not others, e.g.: Cyclin A. How this is achieved is unclear. Here we show that Cdc20 binds to different sites on the APC-C depending on the SAC. Cdc20 requires APC3 and APC8 to bind and activate the APC-C when the SAC is satisfied, but only requires APC8 when the SAC is active. Moreover, APC10 is crucial for Cyclin B1 and securin but not Cyclin A destruction. We conclude that the SAC causes Cdc20 to bind to different sites on the APC-C and this alters APC-C substrate specificity.
During mitosis, the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) inhibits the Cdc20-activated anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/CCdc20), which promotes protein degradation, and delays anaphase onset to ensure accurate chromosome segregation. However, the SAC function in meiotic anaphase regulation is poorly understood. Here, we examined the SAC function in fission yeast meiosis. As in mitosis, a SAC factor, Mad2, delayed anaphase onset via Slp1 (fission yeast Cdc20) when chromosomes attach to the spindle improperly. However, when the SAC delayed anaphase I, the interval between meiosis I and II shortened. Furthermore, anaphase onset was advanced and the SAC effect was reduced at meiosis II. The advancement of anaphase onset depended on a meiosis-specific, Cdc20-related factor, Fzr1/Mfr1, which contributed to anaphase cyclin decline and anaphase onset and was inefficiently inhibited by the SAC. Our findings show that impacts of SAC activation are not confined to a single division at meiosis due to meiosis-specific APC/C regulation, which has probably been evolved for execution of two meiotic divisions.
The Spindle Assembly Checkpoint (SAC) is an intracellular mechanism that ensures proper chromosome segregation. By inhibiting Cdc20, a co-factor of the Anaphase Promoting Complex (APC), the checkpoint arrests the cell cycle until all chromosomes are properly attached to the mitotic spindle. Inhibition of Cdc20 is mediated by a conserved network of interacting proteins. The individual functions of these proteins are well characterized, but understanding of their integrated function is still rudimentary. We here describe our attempts to reverse-engineer the SAC network based on gene deletion phenotypes. We begun by formulating a general model of the SAC which enables us to predict the rate of chromosomal missegregation for any putative set of interactions between the SAC proteins. Next the missegregation rates of seven yeast strains are measured in response to the deletion of one or two checkpoint proteins. Finally, we searched for the set of interactions that correctly predicted the observed missegregation rates of all deletion mutants. Remarkably, although based on only seven phenotypes, the consistent network we obtained successfully reproduces many of the known properties of the SAC. Further insights provided by our analysis are discussed.
Accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis is critical for maintaining genomic stability. The spindle checkpoint is a cellular surveillance system that ensures the fidelity of chromosome segregation. In response to sister chromatids not properly captured by spindle microtubules, the spindle checkpoint interferes with the functions of Cdc20, the mitotic activator of the anaphase-promoting complex or cyclosome (APC/C), thereby blocking APC/C-mediated degradation of securin and cyclin B to delay anaphase onset. This review summarizes the recent progress in the mechanisms by which checkpoint proteins inhibit APC/C, the conformational and enzymatic activation of checkpoint proteins, and the emerging roles of APC/C-dependent ubiquitination in checkpoint inactivation.
Mitosis; Chromosome Segregation; Cell Cycle; Ubiquitination
The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) is an evolutionarily conserved surveillance mechanism that delays anaphase onset and mitotic exit in response to the lack of kinetochore attachment. The target of the SAC is the E3 ubiquitin ligase anaphase-promoting complex (APC) bound to its Cdc20 activator. The Cdc20/APC complex is in turn required for sister chromatid separation and mitotic exit through ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis of securin, thus relieving inhibition of separase that unties sister chromatids. Separase is also involved in the Cdc-fourteen early anaphase release (FEAR) pathway of nucleolar release and activation of the Cdc14 phosphatase, which regulates several microtubule-linked processes at the metaphase/anaphase transition and also drives mitotic exit. Here, we report that the SAC prevents separation of microtubule-organizing centers (spindle pole bodies [SPBs]) when spindle assembly is defective. Under these circumstances, failure of SAC activation causes unscheduled SPB separation, which requires Cdc20/APC, the FEAR pathway, cytoplasmic dynein, and the actin cytoskeleton. We propose that, besides inhibiting sister chromatid separation, the SAC preserves the accurate transmission of chromosomes also by preventing SPBs to migrate far apart until the conditions to assemble a bipolar spindle are satisfied.
The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) monitors the microtubule attachment status of the kinetochore and arrests cells before anaphase until all pairs of sister kinetochores achieve bipolar attachment of microtubules, thereby ensuring faithful chromosome transmission. The evolutionarily conserved coiled-coil protein MAD1 has been implicated in the SAC signaling pathway. MAD1 forms a complex with another SAC component MAD2 and specifically localizes to unattached kinetochores to facilitate efficient binding of MAD2 to its target, CDC20, the mitotic substrate-specific activator of the anaphase promoting complex or cyclosome (APC/C). Thus, MAD1 connects 2 sequential events in the SAC signaling pathway – recognition of unattached kinetochores and inhibition of APC/C activity. However, the molecular mechanisms by which it specifically localizes to unattached kinetochores are largely unknown. Studies in multicellular organisms have revealed the role of MAD1 in development and tumor suppression, but the precise time at which MAD1 activity is required is unknown. Investigation of cellular and organismic functions of MAD1 in the simple multicellular organism C. elegans identified functional interactors of MAD1 in both kinetochore-oriented SAC signaling and kinetochore-independent cell cycle regulation. Studying the function of SAC components in C. elegans provides a new molecular insight into the SAC-regulated cell cycle progression in a context of a multicellular organism.
Spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC); cell cycle; kinetochore; MAD1; C. elegans
p31comet opposes the activities of the Mad2 spindle assembly checkpoint protein, localizes to unattached kinetochores, and like many checkpoint proteins, turns over rapidly at that site. Depletion of p31comet prevents timely passage into anaphase, showing that mitotic progression requires an active mechanism for silencing the spindle checkpoint.
The spindle assembly checkpoint links the onset of anaphase to completion of chromosome-microtubule attachment and is mediated by the binding of Mad and Bub proteins to kinetochores of unattached or maloriented chromosomes. Mad2 and BubR1 traffic between kinetochores and the cytosol, thereby transmitting a “wait anaphase” signal to the anaphase-promoting complex. It is generally assumed that this signal dissipates automatically upon kinetochore-microtubule binding, but it has been shown that under conditions of nocodazole-induced arrest p31comet, a Mad2-binding protein, is required for mitotic progression. In this article we investigate the localization and function of p31comet during normal, unperturbed mitosis in human and marsupial cells. We find that, like Mad2, p31comet traffics on and off kinetochores and is also present in the cytosol. Cells depleted of p31comet arrest in metaphase with mature bipolar kinetochore-microtubule attachments, a satisfied checkpoint, and high cyclin B levels. Thus p31comet is required for timely mitotic exit. We propose that p31comet is an essential component of the machinery that silences the checkpoint during each cell cycle.
Mad2 is an essential component of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), a molecular device designed to coordinate anaphase onset with the completion of chromosome attachment to the spindle. Capture of chromosome by microtubules occur on protein scaffolds known as kinetochores. The SAC proteins are recruited to kinetochores in prometaphase where they generate a signal that halts anaphase until all sister chromatid pairs are bipolarly oriented. Mad2 is a subunit of the mitotic checkpoint complex, which is regarded as the effector of the spindle checkpoint. Its function is the sequestration of Cdc20, a protein required for progression into anaphase. The function of Mad2 in the checkpoint correlates with a dramatic conformational rearrangement of the Mad2 protein. Mad2 adopts a closed conformation (C-Mad2) when bound to Cdc20, and an open conformation (O-Mad2) when unbound to this ligand. Checkpoint activation promotes the conversion of O-Mad2 to Cdc20-bound C-Mad2. We show that this conversion requires a C-Mad2 template and we identify this in Mad1-bound Mad2. In our proposition, Mad1-bound C-Mad2 recruits O-Mad2 to kinetochores, stimulating Cdc20 capture, implying that O-Mad2 and C-Mad2 form dimers. We discuss Mad2 oligomerization and link our discoveries to previous observations related to Mad2 oligomerization.
spindle checkpoint; Mad1; Mad2; Cdc20; metaphase; kinetochore
The inheritance of a normal assortment of chromosomes during each cell division relies on a cell-cycle surveillance system called the mitotic spindle checkpoint. The existence of sister chromatids that do not achieve proper bipolar attachment to the mitotic spindle in a cell activates this checkpoint, which inhibits the ubiquitin ligase activity of the anaphase-promoting complex or cyclosome (APC/C) and delays the onset of anaphase. The mitotic arrest deficiency 2 (Mad2) spindle checkpoint protein inhibits APC/C through binding to its mitotic-specific activator, Cdc20. Binding of Mad2 to Cdc20 involves a large conformational change of Mad2 and requires the Mad1–Mad2 interaction in vivo. Two related but distinct models of Mad1-assisted activation of Mad2, the “two-state Mad2” and the “Mad2 template” models, have been proposed. I review the recent structural, biochemical, and cell biological data on Mad2, discuss the differences between the two models, and propose experiments that test their key principles.