Tension sensing of bi-oriented chromosomes is essential for the fidelity of chromosome segregation. The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) conveys lack of tension or attachment to the anaphase promoting complex. Components of the SAC (Bub1) phosphorylate histone H2A (S121) and recruit the protector of cohesin, Shugoshin (Sgo1) to the inner centromere. How the chromatin structural modifications of the inner centromere are integrated into the tension sensing mechanisms and the checkpoint are not known.
We have identified a Bub1/Sgo1 dependent structural change in the geometry and dynamics of kinetochores and the pericentric chromatin upon reduction of microtubule dynamics. The cluster of inner kinetochores contract while the pericentric chromatin and cohesin that encircle spindle microtubules undergo a radial expansion. Despite its increased spatial distribution, the pericentric chromatin is less dynamic. The change in dynamics is due to histone H2A phosphorylation and Sgo1 recruitment to the pericentric chromatin, rather than microtubule dynamics.
Bub1 and Sgo1 act as a rheostat to regulate the chromatin spring and maintain force balance. Through Histone H2A S121 phosphorylation and recruitment of Sgo1, Bub1 kinase softens the chromatin spring in response to changes in microtubule dynamics. The geometric alteration of all 16 kinetochores and pericentric chromatin reflect global changes in the pericentromeric region and provide mechanisms for mechanically amplifying damage at a single kinetochore microtubule.
Histone H1 induces bending and looping of single DNA molecules at nanomolar concentrations. H1 increases the rate of assembly for single chromatin fibers under force in Xenopus egg extracts and protects decondensing sperm nuclei from stretching and fragmenting in egg cytoplasm.
Histone H1 binds to linker DNA between nucleosomes, but the dynamics and biological ramifications of this interaction remain poorly understood. We performed single-molecule experiments using magnetic tweezers to determine the effects of H1 on naked DNA in buffer or during chromatin assembly in Xenopus egg extracts. In buffer, nanomolar concentrations of H1 induce bending and looping of naked DNA at stretching forces below 0.6 pN, effects that can be reversed with 2.7-pN force or in 200 mM monovalent salt concentrations. Consecutive tens-of-nanometer bending events suggest that H1 binds to naked DNA in buffer at high stoichiometries. In egg extracts, single DNA molecules assemble into nucleosomes and undergo rapid compaction. Histone H1 at endogenous physiological concentrations increases the DNA compaction rate during chromatin assembly under 2-pN force and decreases it during disassembly under 5-pN force. In egg cytoplasm, histone H1 protects sperm nuclei undergoing genome-wide decondensation and chromatin assembly from becoming abnormally stretched or fragmented due to astral microtubule pulling forces. These results reveal functional ramifications of H1 binding to DNA at the single-molecule level and suggest an important physiological role for H1 in compacting DNA under force and during chromatin assembly.
Coiled coil is a principal oligomerization motif. A comprehensive map of coiled-coil interactions (CCIs) in yeast is reported. Computational analysis reveals that CCIs are extensively involved in cell machinery organization. Disrupting the CCIs in the kinetochore leads to defects in kinetochore assembly and cell division.
The highly abundant α-helical coiled-coil motif not only mediates crucial protein–protein interactions in the cell but is also an attractive scaffold in synthetic biology and material science and a potential target for disease intervention. Therefore a systematic understanding of the coiled-coil interactions (CCIs) at the organismal level would help unravel the full spectrum of the biological function of this interaction motif and facilitate its application in therapeutics. We report the first identified genome-wide CCI network in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which consists of 3495 pair-wise interactions among 598 predicted coiled-coil regions. Computational analysis revealed that the CCI network is specifically and functionally organized and extensively involved in the organization of cell machinery. We further show that CCIs play a critical role in the assembly of the kinetochore, and disruption of the CCI network leads to defects in kinetochore assembly and cell division. The CCI network identified in this study is a valuable resource for systematic characterization of coiled coils in the shaping and regulation of a host of cellular machineries and provides a basis for the utilization of coiled coils as domain-based probes for network perturbation and pharmacological applications.
Experiments reveal pac-man motility in kinetochores of X-Y chromosomes, even though their normal behavior is dominated by traction fiber mechanics. A laser microbeam is used to release kinetochores in anaphase from tension. There is a poleward motion of released kinetochores twice as fast as normal and faster than tubulin flux.
We report on experiments directly in living cells that reveal the regulation of kinetochore function by tension. X and Y sex chromosomes in crane fly (Nephrotoma suturalis) spermatocytes exhibit an atypical segregation mechanism in which each univalent maintains K-fibers to both poles. During anaphase, each maintains a leading fiber (which shortens) to one pole and a trailing fiber (which elongates) to the other. We used this intriguing behavior to study the motile states that X-Y kinetochores are able to support during anaphase. We used a laser microbeam to either sever a univalent along the plane of sister chromatid cohesion or knock out one of a univalent's two kinetochores to release one or both from the resistive influence of its sister's K-fiber. Released kinetochores with attached chromosome arms moved poleward at rates at least two times faster than normal. Furthermore, fluorescent speckle microscopy revealed that detached kinetochores converted their functional state from reverse pac-man to pac-man motility as a consequence of their release from mechanical tension. We conclude that kinetochores can exhibit pac-man motility, even though their normal behavior is dominated by traction fiber mechanics. Unleashing of kinetochore motility through loss of resistive force is further evidence for the emerging model that kinetochores are subject to tension-sensitive regulation.
DNA Pol ε synthesizes the leading strands, following the CMG (Cdc45/Mcm2-7/GINS) helicase, although the N-terminal polymerase domain of the catalytic subunit, Cdc20 in fission yeast, is dispensable for viability. We show that the C-terminal domain of Cdc20 plays the noncatalytic essential roles in both the assembly and progression of CMG helicase.
DNA polymerase epsilon (Pol ε) synthesizes the leading strands, following the CMG (Cdc45, Mcm2-7, and GINS [Go-Ichi-Nii-San]) helicase that translocates on the leading-strand template at eukaryotic replication forks. Although Pol ε is essential for the viability of fission and budding yeasts, the N-terminal polymerase domain of the catalytic subunit, Cdc20/Pol2, is dispensable for viability, leaving the following question: what is the essential role(s) of Pol ε? In this study, we investigated the essential roles of Pol ε using a temperature-sensitive mutant and a recently developed protein-depletion (off-aid) system in fission yeast. In cdc20-ct1 cells carrying mutations in the C-terminal domain of Cdc20, the CMG components, RPA, Pol α, and Pol δ were loaded onto replication origins, but Cdc45 did not translocate from the origins, suggesting that Pol ε is required for CMG helicase progression. In contrast, depletion of Cdc20 abolished the loading of GINS and Cdc45 onto origins, indicating that Pol ε is essential for assembly of the CMG complex. These results demonstrate that Pol ε plays essential roles in both the assembly and progression of CMG helicase.
Alp14, a XMAP215 orthologue in fission yeast, is a microtubule (MT) polymerase. It tracks growing MT plus ends and regulates the polymerization state of tubulin by cycling between a tubulin dimer–bound cytoplasmic state and a MT polymerase state that promotes rapid MT assembly.
XMAP215/Dis1 proteins are conserved tubulin-binding TOG-domain proteins that regulate microtubule (MT) plus-end dynamics. Here we show that Alp14, a XMAP215 orthologue in fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, has properties of a MT polymerase. In vivo, Alp14 localizes to growing MT plus ends in a manner independent of Mal3 (EB1). alp14-null mutants display short interphase MTs with twofold slower assembly rate and frequent pauses. Alp14 is a homodimer that binds a single tubulin dimer. In vitro, purified Alp14 molecules track growing MT plus ends and accelerate MT assembly threefold. TOG-domain mutants demonstrate that tubulin binding is critical for function and plus end localization. Overexpression of Alp14 or only its TOG domains causes complete MT loss in vivo, and high Alp14 concentration inhibits MT assembly in vitro. These inhibitory effects may arise from Alp14 sequestration of tubulin and effects on the MT. Our studies suggest that Alp14 regulates the polymerization state of tubulin by cycling between a tubulin dimer–bound cytoplasmic state and a MT polymerase state that promotes rapid MT assembly.
Dynamics of histones under tension in the pericentromere depends on RSC and ISW2 chromatin remodeling. The underlying pericentromeric chromatin forms a platform that is required to maintain kinetochore structure when under spindle-based tension.
Nucleosome positioning is important for the structural integrity of chromosomes. During metaphase the mitotic spindle exerts physical force on pericentromeric chromatin. The cell must adjust the pericentromeric chromatin to accommodate the changing tension resulting from microtubule dynamics to maintain a stable metaphase spindle. Here we examine the effects of spindle-based tension on nucleosome dynamics by measuring the histone turnover of the chromosome arm and the pericentromere during metaphase in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We find that both histones H2B and H4 exhibit greater turnover in the pericentromere during metaphase. Loss of spindle-based tension by treatment with the microtubule-depolymerizing drug nocodazole or compromising kinetochore function results in reduced histone turnover in the pericentromere. Pericentromeric histone dynamics are influenced by the chromatin-remodeling activities of STH1/NPS1 and ISW2. Sth1p is the ATPase component of the Remodels the Structure of Chromatin (RSC) complex, and Isw2p is an ATP-dependent DNA translocase member of the Imitation Switch (ISWI) subfamily of chromatin-remodeling factors. The balance between displacement and insertion of pericentromeric histones provides a mechanism to accommodate spindle-based tension while maintaining proper chromatin packaging during mitosis.
Mass spectrometry identified multiple phosphorylation sites on the kinesin-13 protein Kif2b, some of which are acutely sensitive to inhibition of Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1). Data demonstrate that Plk1 regulates the localization and activity of Kif2b during mitosis to promote the correction of kinetochore-microtubule attachment errors to ensure mitotic fidelity.
Solid tumors are frequently aneuploid, and many display high rates of ongoing chromosome missegregation in a phenomenon called chromosomal instability (CIN). The most common cause of CIN is the persistence of aberrant kinetochore-microtubule (k-MT) attachments, which manifest as lagging chromosomes in anaphase. k-MT attachment errors form during prometaphase due to stochastic interactions between kinetochores and microtubules. The kinesin-13 protein Kif2b promotes the correction of k-MT attachment errors in prometaphase, but the mechanism restricting this activity to prometaphase remains unknown. Using mass spectrometry, we identified multiple phosphorylation sites on Kif2b, some of which are acutely sensitive to inhibition of Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1). We show that Plk1 directly phosphorylates Kif2b at threonine 125 (T125) and serine 204 (S204), and that these two sites differentially regulate Kif2b function. Phosphorylation of S204 is required for the kinetochore localization and activity of Kif2b in prometaphase, and phosphorylation of T125 is required for Kif2b activity in the correction of k-MT attachment errors. These data demonstrate that Plk1 regulates both the localization and activity of Kif2b during mitosis to promote the correction of k-MT attachment errors to ensure mitotic fidelity.
Loss of the dynein inhibitor She1 causes increased rates of microtubule detachment from the yeast spindle pole body. The molecular nature of these detachment events is characterized, and it is shown that their frequency depends on the way in which microtubules are anchored to the SPB. The mechanism of She1 action is investigated.
The organization of microtubules is determined in most cells by a microtubule-organizing center, which nucleates microtubule assembly and anchors their minus ends. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells lacking She1, cytoplasmic microtubules detach from the spindle pole body at high rates. Increased rates of detachment depend on dynein activity, supporting previous evidence that She1 inhibits dynein. Detachment rates are higher in G1 than in metaphase cells, and we show that this is primarily due to differences in the strengths of microtubule attachment to the spindle pole body during these stages of the cell cycle. The minus ends of detached microtubules are stabilized by the presence of γ-tubulin and Spc72, a protein that tethers the γ-tubulin complex to the spindle pole body. A Spc72–Kar1 fusion protein suppresses detachment in G1 cells, indicating that the interaction between these two proteins is critical to microtubule anchoring. Overexpression of She1 inhibits the loading of dynactin components, but not dynein, onto microtubule plus ends. In addition, She1 binds directly to microtubules in vitro, so it may compete with dynactin for access to microtubules. Overall, these results indicate that inhibition of dynein activity by She1 is important to prevent excessive detachment of cytoplasmic microtubules, particularly in G1 cells.
The structure of hSurvivin bound to the histone H3 tail phosphorylated on Thr-3 was solved to determine how the CPC reads the histone code. Many eukaryotes have two Survivin paralogues. A major difference between them is that class A is pH sensitive in H3T3ph binding, whereas class B is relatively pH insensitive but has lower affinity for H3T3ph.
Survivin, a subunit of the chromosome passenger complex (CPC), binds the N-terminal tail of histone H3, which is phosphorylated on T3 by Haspin kinase, and localizes the complex to the inner centromeres. We used x-ray crystallography to determine the residues of Survivin that are important in binding phosphomodified histone H3. Mutation of amino acids that interact with the histone N-terminus lowered in vitro tail binding affinity and reduced CPC recruitment to the inner centromere in cells, validating our solved structures. Phylogenetic analysis shows that nonmammalian vertebrates have two Survivin paralogues, which we name class A and B. A distinguishing feature of these paralogues is an H-to-R change in an amino acid that interacts with the histone T3 phosphate. The binding to histone tails of the human class A paralogue, which has a histidine at this position, is sensitive to changes around physiological pH, whereas Xenopus Survivin class B is less so. Our data demonstrate that Survivin paralogues have different characteristics of phosphospecific binding to threonine-3 of histone H3, providing new insight into the biology of the inner centromere.
The kinesin Eg5 moves toward minus ends of astral microtubules in early mitosis, switching to plus-end motion in anaphase. Dynein is required for minus-end motion; depletion of TPX2 results in a switch to plus-end motion. On midzone microtubules, Eg5 moves in both directions. Our results explain the redistribution of Eg5 throughout mitosis.
Kinesin-5 is an essential mitotic motor. However, how its spatial–temporal distribution is regulated in mitosis remains poorly understood. We expressed localization and affinity purification–tagged Eg5 from a mouse bacterial artificial chromosome (this construct was called mEg5) and found its distribution to be tightly regulated throughout mitosis. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching analysis showed rapid Eg5 turnover throughout mitosis, which cannot be accounted for by microtubule turnover. Total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy and high-resolution, single-particle tracking revealed that mEg5 punctae on both astral and midzone microtubules rapidly bind and unbind. mEg5 punctae on midzone microtubules moved transiently both toward and away from spindle poles. In contrast, mEg5 punctae on astral microtubules moved transiently toward microtubule minus ends during early mitosis but switched to plus end–directed motion during anaphase. These observations explain the poleward accumulation of Eg5 in early mitosis and its redistribution in anaphase. Inhibition of dynein blocked mEg5 movement on astral microtubules, whereas depletion of the Eg5-binding protein TPX2 resulted in plus end–directed mEg5 movement. However, motion of Eg5 on midzone microtubules was not altered. Our results reveal differential and precise spatial and temporal regulation of Eg5 in the spindle mediated by dynein and TPX2.
Quantitative measurement of the number of Cse4, CBF3, and Ndc80 proteins at kinetochores reveals a 2.5–3-fold increased copy number relative to prior estimates.
Cse4 is the budding yeast homologue of CENP-A, a modified histone H3 that specifies the base of kinetochores in all eukaryotes. Budding yeast is unique in having only one kinetochore microtubule attachment site per centromere. The centromere is specified by CEN DNA, a sequence-specific binding complex (CBF3), and a Cse4-containing nucleosome. Here we compare the ratio of kinetochore proximal Cse4-GFP fluorescence at anaphase to several standards including purified EGFP molecules in vitro to generate a calibration curve for the copy number of GFP-fusion proteins. Our results yield a mean of ∼5 Cse4s, ∼3 inner kinetochore CBF3 complexes, and ∼20 outer kinetochore Ndc80 complexes. Our calibrated measurements increase 2.5–3-fold protein copy numbers at eukaryotic kinetochores based on previous ratio measurements assuming two Cse4s per budding yeast kinetochore. All approximately five Cse4s may be associated with the CEN nucleosome, but we show that a mean of three Cse4s could be located within flanking nucleosomes at random sites that differ between chromosomes.
There are four distinct localization domains in formin Bni1p of budding yeast. Analysis of the functions of the domains in the actin cytoskeleton and in spindle orientation reveals unexpected complexity in the mechanism of formin localization and function.
Formins are conserved proteins that assemble unbranched actin filaments in a regulated, localized manner. Budding yeast's two formins, Bni1p and Bnr1p, assemble actin cables necessary for polarized cell growth and organelle segregation. Here we define four regions in Bni1p that contribute to its localization to the bud and at the bud neck. The first (residues 1–333) requires dimerization for its localization and encompasses the Rho-binding domain. The second (residues 334–821) covers the Diaphanous inhibitory–dimerization–coiled coil domains, and the third is the Spa2p-binding domain. The fourth region encompasses the formin homology 1–formin homology 2–COOH region of the protein. These four regions can each localize to the bud cortex and bud neck at the right stage of the cell cycle independent of both F-actin and endogenous Bni1p. The first three regions contribute cumulatively to the proper localization of Bni1p, as revealed by the effects of progressive loss of these regions on the actin cytoskeleton and fidelity of spindle orientation. The fourth region contributes to the localization of Bni1p in tiny budded cells. Expression of mislocalized Bni1p constructs has a dominant-negative effect on both growth and nuclear segregation due to mislocalized actin assembly. These results define an unexpected complexity in the mechanism of formin localization and function.
The impact of mechanical forces on kinetochore motility was investigated using laser microsurgery and fluorescent speckle microscopy on kinetochores and associated microtubules during anaphase in crane fly spermatocytes. Kinetochores detached from their chromosomes moved at twice their normal speed, entering a motile state identified as “park.”
The impact of mechanical forces on kinetochore motility was investigated using laser microsurgery to detach kinetochores with associated chromatin (K fragment) from meiotic chromosomes in spermatocytes from the crane fly Nephrotoma suturalis. In spermatocytes, elastic tethers connect telomeres of homologues during anaphase A of meiosis I, thus preventing complete disjunction until mid- to late anaphase A. K fragments liberated from tethered arms moved at twice the normal velocity toward their connected poles. To assess functional states of detached and control kinetochores, we loaded cells with fluorescently labeled tubulin for fluorescent speckle microscopy on kinetochore microtubules. Control kinetochores added fluorescent speckles at the kinetochore during anaphase A, whereas kinetochores of K fragments generally did not. In cases in which speckles reappeared in K-fragment K fibers, speckles and K fragments moved poleward at similar velocities. Thus detached kinetochores convert from their normal polymerization (reverse pac-man) state to a different state, in which polymerization is not evident. We suggest that the converted state is “park,” in which kinetochores are anchored to plus ends of kinetochore microtubules that shorten exclusively at their polar ends.
Fidelity during chromosome segregation is essential to prevent aneuploidy. The proteins and chromatin at the centromere form a unique site for kinetochore attachment and allow the cell to sense and correct errors during chromosome segregation. Centromeric chromatin is characterized by distinct chromatin organization, epigenetics, centromere-associated proteins and histone variants. These include the histone H3 variant centromeric protein A (CENPA), the composition and deposition of which have been widely investigated. Studies have examined the structural and biophysical properties of the centromere and have suggested that the centromere is not simply a ‘landing pad’ for kinetochore formation, but has an essential role in mitosis by assembling and directing the organization of the kinetochore.
The kinetochore is the protein machine built at the centromere that integrates mechanical force and chemical energy from dynamic microtubules into directed chromosome motion. The kinetochore also provides a powerful signaling function that is able to alter the properties of the spindle checkpoint and initiate a signal transduction cascade that leads to inhibition of the anaphase promoting complex and cell cycle arrest. Together, the kinetochore accomplishes the feat of chromosome segregation with unparalleled accuracy. Errors in segregation lead to Down’s syndrome, the most frequent inherited birth defect, pregnancy loss, and cancer. Over a century after the discovery of the kinetochore, an architectural map comprising greater than 100 proteins is emerging. Understanding the architecture and physical biology of the key components provides new insights into how this fascinating machine moves genomes.
Conditional temperature-sensitive (ts) mutations are valuable reagents for studying essential genes in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We constructed 787 ts strains, covering 497 (~45%) of the 1,101 essential yeast genes, with ~30% of the genes represented by multiple alleles. All of the alleles are integrated into their native genomic locus in the S288C common reference strain and are linked to a kanMX selectable marker, allowing further genetic manipulation by synthetic genetic array (SGA)–based, high-throughput methods. We show two such manipulations: barcoding of 440 strains, which enables chemical-genetic suppression analysis, and the construction of arrays of strains carrying different fluorescent markers of subcellular structure, which enables quantitative analysis of phenotypes using high-content screening. Quantitative analysis of a GFP-tubulin marker identified roles for cohesin and condensin genes in spindle disassembly. This mutant collection should facilitate a wide range of systematic studies aimed at understanding the functions of essential genes.
Nsk1 is a novel fission yeast protein that binds the nucleolus during interphase and the nucleoplasm during early mitosis. After anaphase and following dephosphorylation by Clp1, Nsk1 binds the kinetochore–spindle pole junction and maintains accurate chromosome segregation by promoting the association of kinetochores to spindle poles during anaphase B.
Type 1 phosphatase (PP1) antagonizes Aurora B kinase to stabilize kinetochore–microtubule attachments and to silence the spindle checkpoint. We screened for factors that exacerbate the growth defect of Δdis2 cells, which lack one of two catalytic subunits of PP1 in fission yeast, and identified Nsk1, a novel protein required for accurate chromosome segregation. During interphase, Nsk1 resides in the nucleolus but spreads throughout the nucleoplasm as cells enter mitosis. Following dephosphorylation by Clp1 (Cdc14-like) phosphatase and at least one other phosphatase, Nsk1 localizes to the interface between kinetochores and the inner face of the spindle pole body during anaphase. In the absence of Nsk1, some kinetochores become detached from spindle poles during anaphase B. If this occurs late in anaphase B, then the sister chromatids of unclustered kinetochores segregate to the correct daughter cell. These unclustered kinetochores are efficiently captured, retrieved, bioriented, and segregated during the following mitosis, as long as Dis2 is present. However, if kinetochores are detached from a spindle pole early in anaphase B, then these sister chromatids become missegregated. These data suggest Nsk1 ensures accurate chromosome segregation by promoting the tethering of kinetochores to spindle poles during anaphase B.
Chromosomes segregate by interaction of spindle microtubules with kinetochores. In budding yeast the Dam1 complex forms rings around microtubules and recapitulates the functionality of a kinetochore–microtubule attachment. Mapping of subunits within the complex and their organization within the ring has made it possible to generate a model of Dam1 ring assembly.
All eukaryotic cells must segregate their chromosomes equally between two daughter cells at each division. This process needs to be robust, as errors in the form of loss or gain of genetic material have catastrophic effects on viability. Chromosomes are captured, aligned, and segregated to daughter cells via interaction with spindle microtubules mediated by the kinetochore. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae one microtubule attaches to each kinetochore, requiring extreme processivity from this single connection. The yeast Dam1 complex, an essential component of the outer kinetochore, forms rings around microtubules and in vitro recapitulates much of the functionality of a kinetochore–microtubule attachment. To understand the mechanism of the Dam1 complex at the kinetochore, we must know how it binds to microtubules, how it assembles into rings, and how assembly is regulated. We used electron microscopy to map several subunits within the structure of the Dam1 complex and identify the organization of Dam1 complexes within the ring. Of importance, new data strongly support a more passive role for the microtubule in Dam1 ring formation. Integrating this information with previously published data, we generated a structural model for the Dam1 complex assembly that advances our understanding of its function and will direct future experiments.
We have identified two new Pot1a-associated telomere proteins, Pat1 and Tpt1, from Tetrahymena. Tpt1 is required to prevent telomere elongation and appears to be the Tetrahymena equivalent of vertebrate TPP1. Pat1 depletion causes gradual telomere shortening, indicating that it is needed for telomerase to gain access to the DNA terminus.
We have identified two new telomere proteins, Tpt1 and Pat1, from the ciliate Tetrahymena thermophila. Although Tetrahymena telomerase is well characterized, only one telomere protein had previously been identified. This was the G-overhang binding-protein Pot1a. Tpt1 and Pat1 were isolated as Pot1a binding partners and shown to localize to telomeres. As Tpt1 and Pat1 were both found to be essential, conditional cell lines were generated to explore their function. Tpt1 depletion caused a rapid growth arrest and telomere elongation in the absence of cell division. The phenotype was similar to that seen after Pot1a depletion suggesting that Tpt1 and Pot1a function together to regulate telomere length and prevent telomere deprotection. In contrast, Pat1 depletion had a modest effect on cell growth but caused progressive telomere shortening similar to that observed upon TERT depletion. Thus Pat1 appears to be needed for telomerase to maintain the chromosome terminus. Analysis of Pot1a-Tpt1-Pat1 complex formation using purified proteins indicated that Tpt1 interacts directly with Pot1a while Pat1 interacts with Tpt1. Our results indicate that Tpt1 is the Tetrahymena equivalent of mammalian TPP1, Schizosaccharomyces pombe Tpz1, and Oxytricha nova TEBPβ.
The continuity of duplex DNA is generally considered a prerequisite for chromosome continuity. However, as previously shown in yeast as well as human cells, the introduction of a double-strand break (DSB) does not generate a chromosome break (CRB) in yeast or human cells. The transition from DSB to CRB was found to be under limited control by the tethering function of the RAD50/MRE11/XRS2 (MRX) complex. Using a system for differential fluorescent marking of both sides of an endonuclease-induced DSB in single cells, we found that nearly all DSBs are converted to CRBs in cells lacking both exonuclease 1 (EXO1) activity and MRX complex. Thus, it appears that some feature of exonuclease processing or resection at a DSB is critical for maintaining broken chromosome ends in close proximity. In addition, we discovered a thermal sensitive (cold) component to CRB formation in an MRX mutant that has implications for chromosome end mobility and/or end-processing.
double-strand break repair; chromosome break; exonuclease 1; MRX; fluorescent imaging
During mitosis, spindle microtubule force is balanced by the combined activities of the cohesin and condensin SMC complexes and intramolecular pericentric chromatin loops.
Sister chromatid cohesion provides the mechanistic basis, together with spindle microtubules, for generating tension between bioriented chromosomes in metaphase. Pericentric chromatin forms an intramolecular loop that protrudes bidirectionally from the sister chromatid axis. The centromere lies on the surface of the chromosome at the apex of each loop. The cohesin and condensin structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) protein complexes are concentrated within the pericentric chromatin, but whether they contribute to tension-generating mechanisms is not known. To understand how pericentric chromatin is packaged and resists tension, we map the position of cohesin (SMC3), condensin (SMC4), and pericentric LacO arrays within the spindle. Condensin lies proximal to the spindle axis and is responsible for axial compaction of pericentric chromatin. Cohesin is radially displaced from the spindle axis and confines pericentric chromatin. Pericentric cohesin and condensin contribute to spindle length regulation and dynamics in metaphase. Together with the intramolecular centromere loop, these SMC complexes constitute a molecular spring that balances spindle microtubule force in metaphase.
The mitotic spindle is a structure that forms during mitosis to help ensure that each daughter cell receives a full complement of genetic material. In metaphase, the spindle contains microtubules that nucleate inward from two opposing poles. Chromosomes are attached to plus-ends of these microtubules via protein structures called kinetochores. The centromere is the specific region of kinetochore attachment on the chromosome. Chromatin surrounding the centromere (pericentric chromatin) is subject to microtubule-based forces and is commonly modeled as a linear spring, where the force that it exerts is proportional to the distance that it is stretched. We have incorporated physically based models of chromatin to create more accurate and predictive models of the spindle. In addition, using fluorescence microscopy and motion analysis of fluorescently labeled chromatin spots we discovered that pericentric chromatin is restrained relative to free diffusive motion. The characterization of chromatin is crucial to understand mitotic spindle stability and to understand the cell cycle checkpoint regulating anaphase onset.
pericentric chromatin; worm-like chain; chromatin dynamics; modeling of chromatin
Kif18B is a newly discovered plus-tip-tracking protein that is enriched on astral microtubule (MT) ends during early mitosis. Kif18B binds directly to EB1, and this interaction is required for proper localization of Kif18B and to control astral MT length.
Regulation of microtubule (MT) dynamics is essential for proper spindle assembly and organization. Kinesin-8 family members are plus-end-directed motors that modulate plus-end MT dynamics by acting as MT depolymerases or as MT plus-end capping proteins. In this paper, we show that the human kinesin-8 Kif18B functions during mitosis to control astral MT organization. Kif18B is a MT plus-tip-tracking protein that localizes to the nucleus in interphase and is enriched at astral MT plus ends during early mitosis. Knockdown of Kif18B caused spindle defects, resulting in an increased number and length of MTs. A yeast two-hybrid screen identified an interaction of the C-terminal domain of Kif18B with the plus-end MT-binding protein EB1. EB1 knockdown disrupted Kif18B targeting to MT plus ends, indicating that EB1/Kif18B interaction is physiologically important. This interaction is direct, as the far C-terminal end of Kif18B is sufficient for binding to EB1 in vitro. Overexpression of this domain is sufficient for plus-end MT targeting in cells; however, targeting is enhanced by the motor domain, which cooperates with the tail to achieve proper Kif18B localization at MT plus ends. Our results suggest that Kif18B is a new MT dynamics regulatory protein that interacts with EB1 to control astral MT length.
The mechanism for heterochromatin assembly and maintenance after replication is poorly understood. Here we show that the Mi-2/NuRD complex is critical for maintenance of chromatin structure and proper S phase progression. The findings define a chromatin quality checkpoint that is activated in the absence of Mi-2/NuRD.
During chromosome duplication, it is essential to replicate not only the DNA sequence, but also the complex nucleoprotein structures of chromatin. Pericentric heterochromatin is critical for silencing repetitive elements and plays an essential structural role during mitosis. However, relatively little is understood about its assembly and maintenance during replication. The Mi2/NuRD chromatin remodeling complex tightly associates with actively replicating pericentric heterochromatin, suggesting a role in its assembly. Here we demonstrate that depletion of the catalytic ATPase subunit CHD4/Mi-2β in cells with a dampened DNA damage response results in a slow-growth phenotype characterized by delayed progression through S phase. Furthermore, we observe defects in pericentric heterochromatin maintenance and assembly. Our data suggest that chromatin assembly defects are sensed by an ATM-dependent intra–S phase chromatin quality checkpoint, resulting in a temporal block to the transition from early to late S phase. These findings implicate Mi-2β in the maintenance of chromatin structure and proper cell cycle progression.