Ispinesib (SB-715992) is a potent inhibitor of kinesin spindle protein, a kinesin motor protein essential for the formation of a bipolar mitotic spindle and cell cycle progression through mitosis. Clinical studies of ispinesib have shown a 9% response rate in patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer and a favorable safety profile without significant neurotoxicities, gastrointestinal toxicities, or hair loss. To better understand the potential of ispinesib in the treatment of breast cancer, we explored the activity of ispinesib alone and in combination with several therapies approved for the treatment of breast cancer.
We measured the ispinesib sensitivity and pharmacodynamic response of breast cancer cell lines representative of various subtypes in vitro and as xenografts in vivo and tested the ability of ispinesib to enhance the antitumor activity of approved therapies.
In vitro, ispinesib displayed broad antiproliferative activity against a panel of 53 breast cell lines. In vivo, ispinesib produced regressions in each of five breast cancer models and tumor-free survivors in three of these models. The effects of ispinesib treatment on pharmacodynamic markers of mitosis and apoptosis were examined in vitro and in vivo, revealing a greater increase in both mitotic and apoptotic markers in the MDA-MB-468 model than in the less sensitive BT-474 model. In vivo, ispinesib enhanced the antitumor activity of trastuzumab, lapatinib, doxorubicin, and capecitabine and exhibited activity comparable with paclitaxel and ixabepilone.
These findings support further clinical exploration of kinesin spindle protein inhibitors for the treatment of breast cancer.
Ispinesib is a highly specific inhibitor of kinesin spindle protein (KSP, HsEg5), a mitotic kinesin required for separation of the spindle poles. Here we report the activity of ispinesib against the in vitro and in vivo panels of the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program (PPTP).
Ispinesib was tested against the PPTP in vitro panel cell lines at concentrations from 0.1 nM to 1 μM and against the in vivo tumor panel xenografts by intraperitoneal administration (5 or 10 mg/kg) every 4 days for 3 doses repeated at day 21.
Ispinesib was highly potent against the PPTP’s in vitro cell lines with a median IC50 of 4.1 nM. Ispinesib (10 mg/kg) induced unexplained toxicity in mice bearing osteosarcoma xenografts and exceeded the MTD in 12 of 40 non-osteosarcoma xenografts. Ispinesib induced significant tumor growth delay in 88% (23/26) of evaluable xenografts. Using a time to event measure of efficacy, ispinesib had intermediate and high levels of activity against 4 (21%) and 5 (26%) of the 19 evaluable solid tumor xenografts, respectively. Ispinesib induced maintained complete responses (CR) in a rhabdoid tumor, a Wilms tumor and a Ewing sarcoma xenograft. Ispinesib (5 mg/kg) produced 2 complete and 2 partial responses among 6 evaluable xenografts in the ALL panel. The in vivo pattern of activity was distinctive from that previously reported for vincristine.
Ispinesib demonstrated broad in vivo antitumor activity, including maintained complete responses for several xenografts, although with high toxicity rates at the doses studied.
Preclinical Testing; Developmental Therapeutics; Ispinesib
The human mitotic kinesin Eg5 represents a novel mitotic
spindle target for cancer chemotherapy. We previously identified S-trityl-l-cysteine (STLC) and related analogues
as selective potent inhibitors of Eg5. We herein report on the development
of a series of 4,4,4-triphenylbutan-1-amine inhibitors derived from
the STLC scaffold. This new generation systematically improves on
potency: the most potent C-trityl analogues exhibit Kiapp ≤ 10 nM and GI50 ≈ 50 nM, comparable to results from the phase II clinical
benchmark ispinesib. Crystallographic studies reveal that they adopt
the same overall binding configuration as S-trityl
analogues at an allosteric site formed by loop L5 of Eg5. Evaluation
of their druglike properties reveals favorable profiles for future
development and, in the clinical candidate ispinesib, moderate hERG
and CYP inhibition. One triphenylbutanamine analogue and ispinesib
possess very good bioavailability (51% and 45%, respectively), with
the former showing in vivo antitumor growth activity in nude mice
To determine the maximum-tolerated dose, dose-limiting toxicities and pharmacokinetics of the kinesin spindle protein inhibitor ispinesib in pediatric patients with recurrent or refractory solid tumors.
Subjects and Methods
Ispinesib was administered as 1-hour intravenous infusion weekly × 3, every 28 days. Cohorts of 3-6 patients were enrolled at 5, 7, 9 and 12 mg/m2/dose. Serial plasma samples for pharmacokinetic analyses were obtained after the first dose.
Twenty-four (13 females) patients with a median (range) age of 10 years (1-19) were enrolled on the study. At the 12 mg/m2 dose level dose-limiting neutropenia occurred in 2/6 patients and hyperbilirubinemia in 1/6 patients, while at the 9 mg/m2 dose level 1/6 patients had dose-limiting neutropenia. There were no objective responses, but 3 patients (diagnoses of anaplastic astrocytoma, alveolar soft part sarcoma and ependymoblastoma) had stable disease for 4 to 7 courses. There was substantial inter-patient variation in drug disposition. The median (range) terminal elimination half-life was 16 hours (8-44) and the plasma drug clearance was 5 L/hr/m2 (1-14).
The maximum tolerated and recommended phase II dose for ispinesib administered weekly × 3 every 28 days for children with solid tumors is 9 mg/m2/dose. Plans for a phase II trial in select pediatric solid tumors are in development.
Ispinesib; pediatric cancer; solid tumors; Children Oncology Group; phase 1 trials
Monastrol, a cell-permeable small molecule inhibitor of the mitotic kinesin, Eg5, arrests cells in mitosis with monoastral spindles. Here, we use monastrol to probe mitotic mechanisms. We find that monastrol does not inhibit progression through S and G2 phases of the cell cycle or centrosome duplication. The mitotic arrest due to monastrol is also rapidly reversible. Chromosomes in monastrol-treated cells frequently have both sister kinetochores attached to microtubules extending to the center of the monoaster (syntelic orientation). Mitotic arrest–deficient protein 2 (Mad2) localizes to a subset of kinetochores, suggesting the activation of the spindle assembly checkpoint in these cells. Mad2 localizes to some kinetochores that have attached microtubules in monastrol-treated cells, indicating that kinetochore microtubule attachment alone may not satisfy the spindle assembly checkpoint. Monastrol also inhibits bipolar spindle formation in Xenopus egg extracts. However, it does not prevent the targeting of Eg5 to the monoastral spindles that form. Imaging bipolar spindles disassembling in the presence of monastrol allowed direct observations of outward directed forces in the spindle, orthogonal to the pole-to-pole axis. Monastrol is thus a useful tool to study mitotic processes, detection and correction of chromosome malorientation, and contributions of Eg5 to spindle assembly and maintenance.
monastrol; Eg5; kinesin; MAD2; kinetochore
Glioblastomas (GBM) are typically comprised of morphologically diverse cells. Despite current advances in therapy, including surgical resection followed by radiation and chemotherapy, the prognosis for patients with GBM remains poor. Unfortunately, most patients die within 2 years of diagnosis of their disease. Molecular abnormalities vary among individual patients and also within each tumor. Indeed, one of the distinguishing features of GBM is its marked genetic heterogeneity. Due to the brain location of the tumor, the potential target inhibition for anticancer therapy must exhibit a manageable neurotoxicity profile in the concentration range in which the compounds show anti-proliferative activity.
Kinesin KIF11 inhibition by small molecules such as Monastrol or Ispinesib is currently under investigation in the field of malignant tumors. In the current study we have assessed the relevance of the anti-mitotic Kinesin-like protein KIF11 in human GBM cell-lines.
In this study the target was validated using a set of well characterised and potentially specific small molecule inhibitors of KIF11: an ispinesib analog, Monastrol, a Merck compound and 3 simplified derivatives of the Merck compound. Following an in silico selection, those compounds predicted to bear a favorable BBB permeation profile were assessed for their phenotypic effect on cell lines derived both from primary (U87MG) as well as treated (DBTRG-05-MG) glioblastomas. For some compounds, these data could be compared to their effect on normal human astrocytes, as well as their neurotoxicity on primary rat cortical neurons. The ispinesib analogue 1 showed an anti-proliferative effect on GBM cell lines by blocking them in the G2/M phase in a concentration range which was shown to be harmless to primary rat cortical neurons. Furthermore, ispinesib analog increased caspase 3/7-induced apoptosis in U87MG cells.
In the area of cell cycle inhibition, KIF11 is critical for proper spindle assembly and represents an attractive anticancer target. Our results suggest that KIF11 inhibitors, when able to permeate the blood-brain-barrier, could represent an interesting class of anticancer drugs with low neurotoxic effects in the treatment of brain tumors.
Chromosome segregation during mitosis depends on the action of the mitotic spindle, a self-organizing, bipolar protein machine which uses microtubules (MTs) and their associated motors1,2. Members of the BimC subfamily of kinesin-related MT–motor proteins are believed to be essential for the formation and functioning of a normal bipolar spindle3–14. Here we report that KRP130, a homotetrameric BimC-related kinesin purified from Drosophila melanogaster embryos13, has an unusual ultrastructure. It consists of four kinesin-related polypeptides assembled into a bipolar aggregate with motor domains at opposite ends, analogous to a miniature myosin filament15. Such a bipolar ‘minifilament’ could crosslink spindle MTs and slide them relative to one another. We do not know of any other MT motors that have a bipolar structure.
Kinesin spindle proteins (KSP) are motor proteins that play an essential role in mitotic spindle formation. HsEg5, a KSP, is responsible for the formation of the bipolar spindle, which is critical for proper cell division during mitosis. The function of HsEg5 provides a novel target for the manipulation of the cell cycle and the induction of apoptosis. SB715992, an experimental KSP inhibitor, has been shown to perturb bipolar spindle formation, thus making it an excellent candidate for anti-cancer agent. Our major objective was a) to investigate the cell growth inhibitory effects of SB715992 on PC-3 human prostate cancer cell line, b) to investigate whether the growth inhibitory effects of SB715992 could be enhanced when combined with genistein, a naturally occurring isoflavone and, c) to determine gene expression profile to establish molecular mechanism of action of SB715992.
PC-3 cells were treated with varying concentration of SB715992, 30 μM of genistein, and SB715992 plus 30 μM of genistein. After treatments, PC-3 cells were assayed for cell proliferation, induction of apoptosis, and alteration in gene and protein expression using cell inhibition assay, apoptosis assay, microarray analysis, real-time RT-PCR, and Western Blot analysis.
SB715992 inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in PC-3 cells. SB715992 was found to regulate the expression of genes related to the control of cell proliferation, cell cycle, cell signaling pathways, and apoptosis. In addition, our results showed that combination treatment with SB715992 and genistein caused significantly greater cell growth inhibition and induction of apoptosis compared to the effects of either agent alone.
Our results clearly show that SB715992 is a potent anti-tumor agent whose therapeutic effects could be enhanced by genistein. Hence, we believe that SB715992 could be a novel agent for the treatment of prostate cancer with greater success when combined with a non-toxic natural agent like genistein.
Monastrol, a chemical inhibitor specific to the Kinesin-5 family of motor proteins, was used to examine the functional roles of Kinesin-5 proteins during the first, asymmetric cell division cycle in the brown alga Silvetia compressa.
Monastrol treatment had no effect on developing zygotes prior to entry into mitosis. After mitosis entry, monastrol treatment led to formation of monasters and cell cycle arrest in a dose dependent fashion. These findings indicate that Kinesin-5 motors maintain spindle bipolarity, and are consistent with reports in animal cells. At low drug concentrations that permitted cell division, spindle position was highly displaced from normal, resulting in abnormal division planes. Strikingly, application of monastrol also led to formation of numerous cytasters throughout the cytoplasm and multipolar spindles, uncovering a novel effect of monastrol treatment not observed in animal cells.
We postulate that monastrol treatment causes spindle poles to break apart forming cytasters, some of which capture chromosomes and become supernumerary spindle poles. Thus, in addition to maintaining spindle bipolarity, Kinesin-5 members in S. compressa likely organize microtubules at spindle poles. To our knowledge, this is the first functional characterization of the Kinesin-5 family in stramenopiles.
Chromosome passenger complexes and bipolar kinesins act together to coordinate spindle elongation, spindle breakdown, and mitotic exit.
During mitosis, chromosome passenger complexes (CPCs) exhibit a well-conserved association with the anaphase spindle and have been implicated in spindle stability. However, their precise effect on the spindle is not clear. In this paper, we show, in budding yeast, that a CPC consisting of CBF3, Bir1, and Sli15, but not Ipl1, is required for normal spindle elongation. CPC mutants slow spindle elongation through the action of the bipolar kinesins Cin8 and Kip1. The same CPC mutants that slow spindle elongation also result in the enrichment of Cin8 and Kip1 at the spindle midzone. Together, these findings argue that CPCs function to organize the spindle midzone and potentially switch motors between force generators and molecular brakes. We also find that slowing spindle elongation delays the mitotic exit network (MEN)–dependent release of Cdc14, thus delaying spindle breakdown until a minimal spindle size is reached. We propose that these CPC- and MEN-dependent mechanisms are important for coordinating chromosome segregation with spindle breakdown and mitotic exit.
Assembly of a bipolar mitotic spindle requires the action of class 5 kinesins, and inhibition or depletion of this motor results in mitotic arrest and apoptosis. S-trityl-L-cysteine is an allosteric inhibitor of vertebrate kinesin spindle protein (KSP) that has generated considerable interest due to its anticancer properties, however, poor pharmacological properties have limited the use of this compound. We have modified the triphenylmethyl and cysteine groups, guided by biochemical and cell-based assays, to yield new cysteinol and cysteamine derivatives with increased inhibitory activity, greater efficacy in model systems, and significantly enhanced potency against the NCI60 tumor panel. These results reveal a promising new class of conformationally-flexible small molecules as allosteric KSP inhibitors for use as research tools, with activities that provide impetus for further development as antitumor agents.
Kinesin Spindle Protein; KSP; Mitosis; Kinesin; Anti-mitotic; Cell division
Accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis relies on the organization of microtubules into a bipolar spindle. Kinesin-5 proteins play an evolutionarily conserved role in establishing spindle bipolarity [1, 2] and clinical trials are currently evaluating inhibitors of human kinesin-5 (i.e. Eg5) for chemotherapeutic potential. However, in mammalian somatic cells Eg5 activity is dispensable for maintenance of bipolar spindles once they are formed [3, 4], suggesting distinct requirements for establishment versus maintenance of spindle bipolarity. By combining Eg5 inhibition with RNA interference of other spindle proteins, we show that mitotic cells deficient in MCAK fail to maintain spindle bipolarity in the absence of Eg5 activity. Collapse of bipolar spindles in MCAK-deficient cells is driven by pole focusing activities and is independent of MCAK function at centromeres, implicating hyperstabilized non-kinetochore microtubules in spindle collapse. Conversely, destabilizing non-kinetochore microtubules in early mitosis reduces the reliance on Eg5 for establishment of spindle bipolarity and renders cells partially resistant to Eg5 inhibitors. Thus, the temporal requirement for microtubule sliding generated by Eg5 activity during bipolar spindle assembly in mammalian cells is regulated by changes in the dynamic behavior of microtubules during mitosis.
The proper segregation of chromosomes during meiosis or mitosis requires the assembly of well organized spindles. In many organisms, meiotic spindles lack centrosomes. The formation of such acentrosomal spindles seems to involve first assembly or capture of microtubules (MTs) in a random pattern around the meiotic chromosomes and then parallel bundling and bipolar organization by the action of MT motors and other proteins. Here, we describe the structure, distribution, and function of KLP-18, a Caenorhabditis elegans Klp2 kinesin. Previous reports of Klp2 kinesins agree that it concentrates in spindles, but do not provide a clear view of its function. During prometaphase, metaphase, and anaphase, KLP-18 concentrates toward the poles in both meiotic and mitotic spindles. Depletion of KLP-18 by RNA-mediated interference prevents parallel bundling/bipolar organization of the MTs that accumulate around female meiotic chromosomes. Hence, meiotic chromosome segregation fails, leading to haploid or aneuploid embryos. Subsequent assembly and function of centrosomal mitotic spindles is normal except when aberrant maternal chromatin is present. This suggests that although KLP-18 is critical for organizing chromosome-derived MTs into a parallel bipolar spindle, the order inherent in centrosome-derived astral MT arrays greatly reduces or eliminates the need for KLP-18 organizing activity in mitotic spindles.
Kinesins and dyneins play important roles during cell division. Using RNA interference (RNAi) to deplete individual (or combinations of) motors followed by immunofluorescence and time-lapse microscopy, we have examined the mitotic functions of cytoplasmic dynein and all 25 kinesins in Drosophila S2 cells. We show that four kinesins are involved in bipolar spindle assembly, four kinesins are involved in metaphase chromosome alignment, dynein plays a role in the metaphase-to-anaphase transition, and one kinesin is needed for cytokinesis. Functional redundancy and alternative pathways for completing mitosis were observed for many single RNAi knockdowns, and failure to complete mitosis was observed for only three kinesins. As an example, inhibition of two microtubule-depolymerizing kinesins initially produced monopolar spindles with abnormally long microtubules, but cells eventually formed bipolar spindles by an acentrosomal pole-focusing mechanism. From our phenotypic data, we construct a model for the distinct roles of molecular motors during mitosis in a single metazoan cell type.
kinesin; spindle; dynein; centrosome; kinetochore
Although it has been known for many years that B-cyclin/CDK complexes regulate the assembly of the mitotic spindle and entry into mitosis, the full complement of relevant CDK targets has not been identified. It has previously been shown in a variety of model systems that B-type cyclin/CDK complexes, kinesin-5 motors, and the SCFCdc4 ubiquitin ligase are required for the separation of spindle poles and assembly of a bipolar spindle. It has been suggested that, in budding yeast, B-type cyclin/CDK (Clb/Cdc28) complexes promote spindle pole separation by inhibiting the degradation of the kinesins-5 Kip1 and Cin8 by the anaphase-promoting complex (APCCdh1). We have determined, however, that the Kip1 and Cin8 proteins are present at wild-type levels in the absence of Clb/Cdc28 kinase activity. Here, we show that Kip1 and Cin8 are in vitro targets of Clb2/Cdc28 and that the mutation of conserved CDK phosphorylation sites on Kip1 inhibits spindle pole separation without affecting the protein's in vivo localization or abundance. Mass spectrometry analysis confirms that two CDK sites in the tail domain of Kip1 are phosphorylated in vivo. In addition, we have determined that Sic1, a Clb/Cdc28-specific inhibitor, is the SCFCdc4 target that inhibits spindle pole separation in cells lacking functional Cdc4. Based on these findings, we propose that Clb/Cdc28 drives spindle pole separation by direct phosphorylation of kinesin-5 motors.
The assembly of a bipolar mitotic spindle is essential for the accurate segregation of sister chromatids during mitosis and, hence, for successful cell division. Spindle assembly depends on the successful duplication of the spindle poles, followed by their separation to opposing ends of the cell. Although it has been known for many years that B-cyclin/CDK complexes regulate the assembly of the mitotic spindle, the relevant CDK targets have not been identified. Motor proteins of the kinesin-5 family generate movement on the microtubules that make up the spindle and are believed to power spindle pole separation. By employing the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model, we have found evidence that cyclin/CDKs control spindle assembly by phosphorylating the kinesins-5 Kip1 and Cin8. When phosphorylation at a conserved CDK site in the motor domain of Kip1 is blocked, spindle pole separation is greatly diminished but neither protein abundance nor localization is affected. We have also obtained direct evidence by mass spectrometry that Kip1 and Cin8 are phosphorylated in vivo at consensus CDK sites in their tail domains. Our findings suggest that B-cyclin/CDKs regulate spindle assembly by regulating kinesin-5 motor activity.
The kinesin spindle protein (KSP), a microtubule motor protein, is essential for the formation of bipolar spindles during mitosis. Inhibition of KSP activates the spindle checkpoint and causes apoptosis. It was shown that prolonged inhibition of KSP activates Bax and caspase-3, which requires a competent spindle checkpoint and couples with mitotic slippage. Here we investigated how Bax is activated by KSP inhibition and the roles of Bax and p53 in KSP inhibitor-induced apoptosis. We demonstrate that small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of Bax greatly attenuates KSP inhibitor-induced apoptosis and that Bax activation is upstream of caspase activation. This indicates that Bax mediates the lethality of KSP inhibitors and that KSP inhibition provokes apoptosis via the intrinsic apoptotic pathway where Bax activation is prior to caspase activation. Although the BH3-only protein Puma is induced after mitotic slippage, suppression of de novo protein synthesis that abrogates Puma induction does not block activation of Bax or caspase-3, indicating that Bax activation is triggered by a posttranslational event. Comparison of KSP inhibitor-induced apoptosis between matched cell lines containing either functional or deficient p53 reveals that inhibition of KSP induces apoptosis independently of p53 and that p53 is dispensable for spindle checkpoint function. Thus, KSP inhibitors should be active in p53-deficient tumors.
An outstanding unresolved question is how does the mitotic spindle utilize microtubules and mitotic motors to coordinate accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis? This process depends upon the mitotic motor, kinesin-5, whose unique bipolar architecture, with pairs of motor domains lying at opposite ends of a central rod, allows it to crosslink microtubules within the mitotic spindle and to coordinate their relative sliding during spindle assembly, maintenance and elongation. The structural basis of kinesin-5’s bipolarity is, however, unknown, as protein asymmetry has so far precluded its crystallization. Here we use electron microscopy of single molecules of kinesin-5 and its subfragments, combined with hydrodynamic analysis plus mass spectrometry, circular dichroism and site-directed spin label electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, to show how a staggered antiparallel coiled-coil ‘BASS’ (bipolar assembly) domain directs the assembly of four kinesin-5 polypeptides into bipolar minifilaments.
During mitosis, kinesin-5 motors are thought to crosslink microtubules in a muscle-like sliding filament mechanism. By combining electron microscopy with other structural tools, the authors reveal how four kinesin-5 polypeptides are organized into bipolar minifilaments.
Centrosome separation, critical for bipolar spindle formation and subsequent chromosome segregation during mitosis, occurs via distinct prophase and prometaphase pathways [1–3]. Kinesin-5 (Eg5), a microtubule (MT) motor, pushes centrosomes apart during bipolar spindle assembly ; its suppression results in monopolar spindles and mitotic arrest [5, 6]. Forces that antagonize Eg5 in prophase are unknown. Here we identify a new force generating mechanism mediated by the guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) Tiam1, dependent on its ability to activate the GTPase Rac. We reveal that Tiam1 and Rac localize to centrosomes during prophase and prometaphase, and Tiam1, acting through Rac, ordinarily retards centrosome separation. Importantly, both Tiam1-depleted cells in culture and Rac1-deficient epithelial cells in vivo escape the mitotic arrest induced by Eg5 suppression. Moreover, Tiam1-depleted cells transit more slowly through prometaphase and display increased chromosome congression errors. Significantly, Eg5 suppression in Tiam1-depleted cells rectifies not only their increased centrosome separation but also their chromosome congression errors and mitotic delay. These findings identify Tiam1-Rac signaling as the first antagonist of centrosome separation during prophase, demonstrate its requirement in balancing Eg5-induced forces during bipolar spindle assembly in vitro and in vivo, and show that proper centrosome separation in prophase facilitates subsequent chromosome congression.
► Tiam1-Rac signaling is the first antagonist of centrosome separation in prophase ► Tiam1-Rac signaling antagonizes Eg5 in bipolar spindle formation ► Tiam1-Rac signaling is required for optimal chromosome congression ► Regulated centrosome separation in prophase facilitates chromosome congression
Nup98 regulates microtubule dynamics during mitotic spindle assembly by opposing the depolymerizing kinesin, MCAK. The Nup98 C-terminus binds microtubules, associates with MCAK, and is sufficient to restore bipolar spindle assembly in Nup98-depleted extracts. This is a novel mechanism by which a nucleoporin contributes to regulation of mitosis.
During mitosis, the nuclear pore complex is disassembled and, increasingly, nucleoporins are proving to have mitotic functions when released from the pore. We find a contribution of the nucleoporin Nup98 to mitotic spindle assembly through regulation of microtubule dynamics. When added to Xenopus extract spindle assembly assays, the C-terminal domain of Nup98 stimulates uncontrolled growth of microtubules. Conversely, inhibition or depletion of Nup98 leads to formation of stable monopolar spindles. Spindle bipolarity is restored by addition of purified, recombinant Nup98 C-terminus. The minimal required region of Nup98 corresponds to a portion of the C-terminal domain lacking a previously characterized function. We show association between this region of the C-terminus of Nup98 and both Taxol-stabilized microtubules and the microtubule-depolymerizing mitotic centromere–associated kinesin (MCAK). Importantly, we demonstrate that this domain of Nup98 inhibits MCAK depolymerization activity in vitro. These data support a model in which Nup98 interacts with microtubules and antagonizes MCAK activity, thus promoting bipolar spindle assembly.
The mitotic spindle is a complex and dynamic structure. Genetic analysis in budding yeast has identified two sets of kinesin-like motors, Cin8p and Kip1p, and Kar3p and Kip3p, that have overlapping functions in mitosis. We have studied the role of three of these motors by video microscopy of motor mutants whose microtubules and centromeres were marked with green fluorescent protein. Despite their functional overlap, each motor mutant has a specific defect in mitosis: cin8Δ mutants lack the rapid phase of anaphase B, kip1Δ mutants show defects in the slow phase of anaphase B, and kip3Δ mutants prolong the duration of anaphase to the point at which the spindle becomes longer than the cell. The kip3Δ and kip1Δ mutants affect the duration of anaphase, but cin8Δ does not.
mitosis; kinesin; microtubule; anaphase; yeast
The formation and maintenance of the bipolar mitotic spindle apparatus require a complex and balanced interplay of several mechanisms, including the stabilization and separation of polar microtubules and the action of various microtubule motors. Nonmicrotubule elements are also present throughout the spindle apparatus and have been proposed to provide a structural support for the spindle. The Nuclear-Mitotic Apparatus protein (NuMA) is an abundant 240 kD protein that is present in the nucleus of interphase cells and concentrates in the polar regions of the spindle apparatus during mitosis. Sequence analysis indicates that NuMA possesses an unusually long alpha-helical central region characteristic of many filament forming proteins. In this report we demonstrate that microinjection of anti-NuMA antibodies into interphase and prophase cells results in a failure to form a mitotic spindle apparatus. Furthermore, injection of metaphase cells results in the collapse of the spindle apparatus into a monopolar microtubule array. These results identify for the first time a nontubulin component important for both the establishment and stabilization of the mitotic spindle apparatus in multicellular organisms. We suggest that nonmicrotubule structural components may be important for these processes.
Beads coated with the guanine nucleotide exchange factor RCC1 and a kinesin motor protein are sufficient to induce mitotic spindle assembly in Xenopus egg cytoplasm.
During cell division the genetic material on chromosomes is distributed to daughter cells by a dynamic microtubule structure called the mitotic spindle. Here we establish a reconstitution system to assess the contribution of individual chromosome proteins to mitotic spindle formation around single 10 µm diameter porous glass beads in Xenopus egg extracts. We find that Regulator of Chromosome Condensation 1 (RCC1), the Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factor (GEF) for the small GTPase Ran, can induce bipolar spindle formation. Remarkably, RCC1 beads oscillate within spindles from pole to pole, a behavior that could be converted to a more typical, stable association by the addition of a kinesin together with RCC1. These results identify two activities sufficient to mimic chromatin-mediated spindle assembly, and establish a foundation for future experiments to reconstitute spindle assembly entirely from purified components.
The mitotic spindle is a bipolar structure that is responsible for separating the two sets of duplicated chromosomes in a dividing cell, thereby delivering one set to each of the two daughter cells. It is built from dynamic filaments called microtubules, as well as hundreds of other components that contribute to the organization and dynamics of the microtubules and to chromosome movement. To understand which proteins are essential for spindle formation and function, we would like to be able to build it from purified components. As a step towards this goal, we coupled individual proteins to inert glass beads (as a substitute for chromosomes), to determine what combination of proteins can induce spindle assembly in a complex cytoplasm derived from frog eggs. We found that a single enzyme called RCC1 is sufficient to activate a pathway that stabilizes and organizes microtubules into a bipolar structure around the bead, but that this bead then oscillated back and forth between the poles of the spindle. By coupling a microtubule-based motor protein together with RCC1 on the bead, we were able to balance the bead in the center of the spindle. Thus, two proteins immobilized on a bead can substitute for a chromosome and induce stable spindle formation.
The formation and functioning of a mitotic spindle depends not only on the assembly/disassembly of microtubules but also on the action of motor enzymes. Cytoplasmic dynein has been localized to spindles, but whether or how it functions in mitotic processes is not yet known. We have cloned and expressed DNA fragments that encode the putative ATP- hydrolytic sites of the cytoplasmic dynein heavy chain from HeLa cells and from Dictyostelium. Monospecific antibodies have been raised to the resulting polypeptides, and these inhibit dynein motor activity in vitro. Their injection into mitotic mammalian cells blocks the formation of spindles in prophase or during recovery from nocodazole treatment at later stages of mitosis. Cells become arrested with unseparated centrosomes and form monopolar spindles. The injected antibodies have no detectable effect on chromosome attachment to a bipolar spindle or on motions during anaphase. These data suggest that cytoplasmic dynein plays a unique and important role in the initial events of bipolar spindle formation, while any later roles that it may play are redundant. Possible mechanisms of dynein's involvement in mitosis are discussed.
Kinesins from the bipolar (Kinesin-5) family are conserved in eukaryotic organisms and play critical roles during the earliest stages of mitosis to mediate spindle pole body separation and formation of a bipolar mitotic spindle. To date, genes encoding bipolar kinesins have been reported to be essential in all organisms studied. We report the characterization of CaKip1p, the sole member of this family in the human pathogenic yeast Candida albicans. C. albicans Kip1p appears to localize to the mitotic spindle and loss of CaKip1p function interferes with normal progression through mitosis. Inducible excision of CaKIP1 revealed phenotypes unique to C. albicans, including viable homozygous Cakip1 mutants and an aberrant spindle morphology in which multiple spindle poles accumulate in close proximity to each other. Expression of the C. albicans Kip1 motor domain in Escherichia coli produced a protein with microtubule-stimulated ATPase activity that was inhibited by an aminobenzothiazole (ABT) compound in an ATP-competitive fashion. This inhibition results in ‘rigor-like’, tight association with microtubules in vitro. Upon treatment of C. albicans cells with the ABT compound, cells were killed, and terminal phenotype analysis revealed an aberrant spindle morphology similar to that induced by loss of the CaKIP1 gene. The ABT compound discovered is the first example of a fungal spindle inhibitor targeted to a mitotic kinesin. Our results also show that the non-essential nature and implementation of the bipolar motor in C. albicans differs from that seen in other organisms, and suggest that inhibitors of a non-essential mitotic kinesin may offer promise as cidal agents for antifungal drug discovery.
Taxol functions to suppress the dynamic behavior of individual microtubules, and induces multipolar mitotic spindles. However, little is known about the mechanisms by which taxol disrupts normal bipolar spindle assembly in vivo. Using live imaging of GFP-α tubulin expressing cells, we examined spindle assembly after taxol treatment. We find that as taxol-treated cells enter mitosis, there is a dramatic redistribution of the microtubule network from the centrosomes to the cell cortex. As they align there, the cortical microtubules recruit NuMA to their embedded ends, followed by the kinesin motor HSET. These cortical microtubules then bud off to form cytasters, which fuse into multipolar spindles. Cytoplasmic dynein and dynactin do not re-localize to cortical microtubules, and disruption of dynein/dynactin interactions by over-expression of p50 “dynamitin” does not prevent cytaster formation. Taxol added well before spindle poles begin to form induces multipolarity, but taxol added after nascent spindle poles are visible—but before NEB is complete—results in bipolar spindles. Our results suggest that taxol prevents rapid transport of key components, such as NuMA, to the nascent spindle poles. The net result is loss of mitotic spindle pole cohesion, microtubule re-distribution, and cytaster formation.
asters; microtubules; mitosis; spindle; taxol