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1.  Oncogene-like induction of cellular invasion from centrosome amplification 
Nature  2014;510(7503):167-171.
Centrosome amplification has long been recognized as a feature of human tumors, however its role in tumorigenesis remains unclear 1. Centrosome amplification is poorly tolerated by non-transformed cells, and, in the absence of selection, extra centrosomes are spontaneously lost 2. Thus, the high frequency of centrosome amplification, particularly in more aggressive tumors 3, raises the possibility that extra centrosomes could, in some contexts, confer advantageous characteristics that promote tumor progression. Using a three-dimensional model system and other approaches to culture human mammary epithelial cells, we find that centrosome amplification triggers cell invasion. This invasive behavior is similar to that induced by overexpression of the breast cancer oncogene ErbB2 4 and indeed enhances invasiveness triggered by ErbB2. We show that, through increased centrosomal microtubule nucleation, centrosome amplification increases Rac1 activity, which disrupts normal cell-cell adhesion and promotes invasion. These findings demonstrate that centrosome amplification, a structural alteration of the cytoskeleton, can promote features of malignant transformation.
PMCID: PMC4061398  PMID: 24739973
2.  Oncogene-like induction of cellular invasion from centrosome amplification 
Nature  2014;510(7503):167-171.
Centrosome amplification has long been recognized as a feature of human tumors, however its role in tumorigenesis remains unclear1. Centrosome amplification is poorly tolerated by non-transformed cells, and, in the absence of selection, extra centrosomes are spontaneously lost2. Thus, the high frequency of centrosome amplification, particularly in more aggressive tumors3, raises the possibility that extra centrosomes could, in some contexts, confer advantageous characteristics that promote tumor progression. Using a three-dimensional model system and other approaches to culture human mammary epithelial cells, we find that centrosome amplification triggers cell invasion. This invasive behavior is similar to that induced by overexpression of the breast cancer oncogene ErbB24 and indeed enhances invasiveness triggered by ErbB2. We show that, through increased centrosomal microtubule nucleation, centrosome amplification increases Rac1 activity, which disrupts normal cell-cell adhesion and promotes invasion. These findings demonstrate that centrosome amplification, a structural alteration of the cytoskeleton, can promote features of malignant transformation.
PMCID: PMC4061398  PMID: 24739973
3.  Triplication of a 21q22 region contributes to B cell transformation through HMGN1 overexpression and loss of histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation 
Nature genetics  2014;46(6):618-623.
Down syndrome confers a 20-fold increased risk of B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL)1 and polysomy 21 is the most frequent somatic aneuploidy amongst all B-ALLs2. Yet, the mechanistic links between chr.21 triplication and B-ALL remain undefined. Here we show that germline triplication of only 31 genes orthologous to human chr.21q22 confers murine progenitor B cell self-renewal in vitro, maturation defects in vivo, and B-ALL with either BCR-ABL or CRLF2 with activated JAK2. Chr.21q22 triplication suppresses H3K27me3 in progenitor B cells and B-ALLs, and “bivalent” genes with both H3K27me3 and H3K4me3 at their promoters in wild-type progenitor B cells are preferentially overexpressed in triplicated cells. Strikingly, human B-ALLs with polysomy 21 are distinguished by their overexpression of genes marked with H3K27me3 in multiple cell types. Finally, overexpression of HMGN1, a nucleosome remodeling protein encoded on chr.21q223–5, suppresses H3K27me3 and promotes both B cell proliferation in vitro and B-ALL in vivo.
PMCID: PMC4040006  PMID: 24747640
4.  Microtubule sliding activity of a kinesin-8 promotes spindle assembly and spindle length control 
Nature cell biology  2013;15(8):948-957.
Molecular motors play critical roles in the formation of mitotic spindles, either through controlling the stability of individual microtubules, or by cross-linking and sliding microtubule arrays. Kinesin-8 motors are best known for their regulatory roles in controlling microtubule dynamics. They contain microtubule-destabilizing activities, and restrict spindle length in a wide variety of cell types and organisms. Here, we report for the first time on an anti-parallel microtubule-sliding activity of the budding yeast kinesin-8, Kip3. The in vivo importance of this sliding activity was established through the identification of complementary Kip3 mutants that separate the sliding activity and microtubule destabilizing activity. In conjunction with kinesin-5/Cin8, the sliding activity of Kip3 promotes bipolar spindle assembly and the maintenance of genome stability. We propose a “slide-disassemble” model where Kip3’s sliding and destabilizing activity balance during pre-anaphase. This facilitates normal spindle assembly. However, Kip3’s destabilizing activity dominates in late anaphase, inhibiting spindle elongation and ultimately promoting spindle disassembly.
PMCID: PMC3767134  PMID: 23851487
5.  Inhibition of Cdc42 during mitotic exit is required for cytokinesis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2013;202(2):231-240.
A decrease in Cdc42 activation during mitotic exit is necessary to allow localization of key cytokinesis regulators and proper septum formation.
The role of Cdc42 and its regulation during cytokinesis is not well understood. Using biochemical and imaging approaches in budding yeast, we demonstrate that Cdc42 activation peaks during the G1/S transition and during anaphase but drops during mitotic exit and cytokinesis. Cdc5/Polo kinase is an important upstream cell cycle regulator that suppresses Cdc42 activity. Failure to down-regulate Cdc42 during mitotic exit impairs the normal localization of key cytokinesis regulators—Iqg1 and Inn1—at the division site, and results in an abnormal septum. The effects of Cdc42 hyperactivation are largely mediated by the Cdc42 effector p21-activated kinase Ste20. Inhibition of Cdc42 and related Rho guanosine triphosphatases may be a general feature of cytokinesis in eukaryotes.
PMCID: PMC3718968  PMID: 23878274
Trends in cell biology  2012;22(11):567-575.
The stereotypical function of kinesin superfamily motors is to transport cargo along microtubules. However, some kinesins also shape the microtubule track by regulating microtubule assembly and disassembly. Recent work has shown that the kinesin-8 family of motors are key regulators of cellular microtubule length. The studied kinesin-8s are highly processive motors that walk towards the microtubule plus-end. Once at plus-ends, they have complex effects on polymer dynamics: kinesin-8s either destabilize or stabilize microtubules, depending on the context. This review will focus on the mechanisms underlying kinesin-8-microtubule interactions and microtubule length control. We will compare and contrast kinesin-8s with the other major microtubule-regulating kinesins (kinesin-4 and kinesin-13), to survey the current understanding of the diverse ways that kinesins control microtubule dynamics.
PMCID: PMC3482944  PMID: 22959403
kinesin-8; kinesin-13; kinesin-4; microtubule dynamics; microtubule depolymerase
7.  Linking abnormal mitosis to the acquisition of DNA damage 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2012;199(6):871-881.
Cellular defects that impair the fidelity of mitosis promote chromosome missegregation and aneuploidy. Increasing evidence reveals that errors in mitosis can also promote the direct and indirect acquisition of DNA damage and chromosome breaks. Consequently, deregulated cell division can devastate the integrity of the normal genome and unleash a variety of oncogenic stimuli that may promote transformation. Recent work has shed light on the mechanisms that link abnormal mitosis with the development of DNA damage, how cells respond to such affronts, and the potential impact on tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3518222  PMID: 23229895
8.  Regulation of the formin Bnr1 by septins anda MARK/Par1-family septin-associated kinase 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(20):4041-4053.
The septin-associated kinase Gin4 is required for the localization and activation of Bnr1, and the septin Shs1 is essential for Bnr1 activation. The loss of Gin4 or Shs1 phenocopies the loss of Bnr1; these defects are suppressed by constitutive activation of Bnr1. The data reveal novel regulatory links between the actin and septin cytoskeletons.
Formin-family proteins promote the assembly of linear actin filaments and are required to generate cellular actin structures, such as actin stress fibers and the cytokinetic actomyosin contractile ring. Many formin proteins are regulated by an autoinhibition mechanism involving intramolecular binding of a Diaphanous inhibitory domain and a Diaphanous autoregulatory domain. However, the activation mechanism for these Diaphanous-related formins (DRFs) is not completely understood. Although small GTPases play an important role in relieving autoinhibition, other factors likely contribute. Here we describe a requirement for the septin Shs1 and the septin-associated kinase Gin4 for the localization and in vivo activity of the budding yeast DRF Bnr1. In budding yeast strains in which the other formin, Bni1, is conditionally inactivated, the loss of Gin4 or Shs1 results in the loss of actin cables and cell death, similar to the loss of Bnr1. The defects in these strains can be suppressed by constitutive activation of Bnr1. Gin4 is involved in both the localization and activation of Bnr1, whereas the septin Shs1 is required for Bnr1 activation but not its localization. Gin4 promotes the activity of Bnr1 independently of the Gin4 kinase activity, and Gin4 lacking its kinase domain binds to the critical localization region of Bnr1. These data reveal novel regulatory links between the actin and septin cytoskeletons.
PMCID: PMC3469519  PMID: 22918953
9.  Mechanisms underlying the dual-mode regulation of microtubule dynamics by Kip3/kinesin-8 
Molecular cell  2011;43(5):751-763.
The kinesin-8 family of microtubule motors plays a critical role in microtubule length control in cells. These motors have complex effects on microtubule dynamics: they destabilize growing microtubules yet stabilize shrinking microtubules. The budding yeast kinesin-8, Kip3, accumulates on plus ends of growing but not shrinking microtubules. Here we identify an essential role of the tail domain of Kip3 in mediating both its destabilizing and stabilizing activities. The Kip3-tail promotes Kip’s accumulation at the plus ends and facilitates the destabilizing effect of Kip3. However, the Kip3-tail also inhibits microtubule shrinkage and is required for promoting microtubule rescue by Kip3. These effects of the tail domain are likely to be mediated by the tubulin- and microtubule-binding activities that we describe. We propose a concentration-dependent model for the coordination of the destabilizing and stabilizing activities of Kip3 and discuss its relevance to cellular microtubule organization.
PMCID: PMC3181003  PMID: 21884976
10.  DNA breaks and chromosome pulverization from errors in mitosis 
Nature  2012;482(7383):53-58.
Whether whole-chromosome aneuploidy promotes tumorigenesis has been controversial, in large part because of the paucity of insight into underlying mechanisms. Here we identify a mechanism by which mitotic chromosome segregation errors generate DNA breaks via the formation of structures called micronuclei. Whole chromosome-containing micronuclei form when mitotic errors produce lagging chromosomes. We tracked the fate of newly generated micronuclei and found that they undergo defective and asynchronous DNA replication, resulting in DNA damage and frequently pulverization of the chromosome in the micronucleus. Micronuclei can persist in cells over several generations but the chromosome in the micronucleus can also be distributed to daughter nuclei. Thus, chromosome segregation errors potentially lead to mutations and chromosome rearrangements that can integrate into the genome. Pulverization of chromosomes in micronuclei may also be one explanation for “chromothripsis” in cancer and developmental disorders, where isolated chromosomes or chromosome arms undergo massive local DNA breakage and rearrangement.
PMCID: PMC3271137  PMID: 22258507
11.  Centrosomes and Cilia in Human Disease 
Trends in genetics : TIG  2011;27(8):307-315.
Centrioles are microtubule-derived structures that are essential to form centrosomes, cilia and flagella. The centrosome is the major microtubule organiser in animal cells, participating in a variety of processes from cell polarization to cell division, while cilia and flagella contribute to several mechanisms in eukaryotic cells from motility to sensing. Although it was suggested more than a century ago that these microtubule-derived structures are involved in human disease, the molecular bases of this association have only recently been discovered. Surprisingly, there is very little overlap between the genes affected in the different diseases, suggesting there are tissue-specific requirements for these microtubule-derived structures. Knowledge of these requirements and disease mechanisms has opened new avenues for therapeutical strategies. Here, we give an overview of recent developments in this field focusing on cancer, diseases of brain development and ciliopathies.
PMCID: PMC3144269  PMID: 21680046
12.  Human TUBB3 mutations perturb microtubule dynamics, kinesin interactions, and axon guidance 
Cell  2010;140(1):74-87.
We report that eight heterozygous missense mutations in TUBB3, encoding the neuron-specific β-tubulin isotype III, result in a spectrum of human nervous system disorders we now call the TUBB3 syndromes. Each mutation causes the ocular motility disorder CFEOM3, whereas some also result in intellectual and behavioral impairments, facial paralysis, and/or later-onset axonal sensorimotor polyneuropathy. Neuroimaging reveals a spectrum of abnormalities including hypoplasia of oculomotor nerves, and dysgenesis of the corpus callosum, anterior commissure, and corticospinal tracts. A knock-in disease mouse model reveals axon guidance defects without evidence of cortical cell migration abnormalities. We show the disease-associated mutations can impair tubulin heterodimer formation in vitro, although folded mutant heterodimers can still polymerize into microtubules. Modeling each mutation in yeast tubulin demonstrates that all alter dynamic instability whereas a subset disrupts the interaction of microtubules with kinesin motors. These findings demonstrate normal TUBB3 is required for axon guidance and maintenance in mammals.
PMCID: PMC3164117  PMID: 20074521
13.  Bub1, Sgo1, and Mps1 mediate a distinct pathway for chromosome biorientation in budding yeast 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(9):1473-1485.
Members of chromosome passenger complex BIR1 and SLI15 suppress the chromosome segregation defect of bub1Δ and sgo1Δ. Neither Bub1 nor Sgo1 is required for CPC activity. This study found genetic interaction between Mps1 and Sgo1. Mps1 governs localization of Sgo1. Bub1, Sgo1, and Mps1 function in parallel to the CPC in correction of syntelic attachments.
The conserved mitotic kinase Bub1 performs multiple functions that are only partially characterized. Besides its role in the spindle assembly checkpoint and chromosome alignment, Bub1 is crucial for the kinetochore recruitment of multiple proteins, among them Sgo1. Both Bub1 and Sgo1 are dispensable for growth of haploid and diploid budding yeast, but they become essential in cells with higher ploidy. We find that overexpression of SGO1 partially corrects the chromosome segregation defect of bub1Δ haploid cells and restores viability to bub1Δ tetraploid cells. Using an unbiased high-copy suppressor screen, we identified two members of the chromosomal passenger complex (CPC), BIR1 (survivin) and SLI15 (INCENP, inner centromere protein), as suppressors of the growth defect of both bub1Δ and sgo1Δ tetraploids, suggesting that these mutants die due to defects in chromosome biorientation. Overexpression of BIR1 or SLI15 also complements the benomyl sensitivity of haploid bub1Δ and sgo1Δ cells. Mutants lacking SGO1 fail to biorient sister chromatids attached to the same spindle pole (syntelic attachment) after nocodazole treatment. Moreover, the sgo1Δ cells accumulate syntelic attachments in unperturbed mitoses, a defect that is partially corrected by BIR1 or SLI15 overexpression. We show that in budding yeast neither Bub1 nor Sgo1 is required for CPC localization or affects Aurora B activity. Instead we identify Sgo1 as a possible partner of Mps1, a mitotic kinase suggested to have an Aurora B–independent function in establishment of biorientation. We found that Sgo1 overexpression rescues defects caused by metaphase inactivation of Mps1 and that Mps1 is required for Sgo1 localization to the kinetochore. We propose that Bub1, Sgo1, and Mps1 facilitate chromosome biorientation independently of the Aurora B–mediated pathway at the budding yeast kinetochore and that both pathways are required for the efficient turnover of syntelic attachments.
PMCID: PMC3084670  PMID: 21389114
14.  HURP permits MTOC sorting for robust meiotic spindle bipolarity, similar to extra centrosome clustering in cancer cells 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2010;191(7):1251-1260.
Similar to clustering of extra centrosomes in cancer cells, HURP promotes microtubule stability and sorts MTOCs into distinct poles during meiosis.
In contrast to somatic cells, formation of acentriolar meiotic spindles relies on the organization of microtubules (MTs) and MT-organizing centers (MTOCs) into a stable bipolar structure. The underlying mechanisms are still unknown. We show that this process is impaired in hepatoma up-regulated protein (Hurp) knockout mice, which are viable but female sterile, showing defective oocyte divisions. HURP accumulates on interpolar MTs in the vicinity of chromosomes via Kinesin-5 activity. By promoting MT stability in the spindle central domain, HURP allows efficient MTOC sorting into distinct poles, providing bipolarity establishment and maintenance. Our results support a new model for meiotic spindle assembly in which HURP ensures assembly of a central MT array, which serves as a scaffold for the genesis of a robust bipolar structure supporting efficient chromosome congression. Furthermore, HURP is also required for the clustering of extra centrosomes before division, arguing for a shared molecular requirement of MTOC sorting in mammalian meiosis and cancer cell division.
PMCID: PMC3010075  PMID: 21173113
15.  Small Molecule Kinase Inhibitors Provide Insight into Mps1 Cell Cycle Function 
Nature chemical biology  2010;6(5):359-368.
Mps1, a dual-specificity kinase, is required for the proper functioning of the spindle assembly checkpoint and the maintenance of chromosomal stability. As Mps1 function has been implicated in numerous phases of the cell cycle, it is expected the development of a potent, selective small molecule inhibitor of Mps1 would greatly facilitate dissection of Mps1-related biology. We describe the cellular effects and Mps1 co-crystal structures of novel, selective small molecule inhibitors of Mps1. Consistent with RNAi studies, chemical inhibition of Mps1 leads to defects in Mad1 and Mad2 establishment at unattached kinetochores, decreased Aurora B kinase activity, premature mitotic exit, and gross aneuploidy, without any evidence of centrosome duplication defects. However, in U2OS cells possessing extra centrosomes, an abnormality found in some cancers, Mps1 inhibition increases the frequency of multipolar mitoses. Lastly, Mps1 inhibitor treatment resulted in a decrease in cancer cell viability.
PMCID: PMC2857554  PMID: 20383151
16.  Cytokinesis failure occurs in Fanconi anemia pathway–deficient murine and human bone marrow hematopoietic cells 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2010;120(11):3834-3842.
Fanconi anemia (FA) is a genomic instability disorder characterized by bone marrow failure and cancer predisposition. FA is caused by mutations in any one of several genes that encode proteins cooperating in a repair pathway and is required for cellular resistance to DNA crosslinking agents. Recent studies suggest that the FA pathway may also play a role in mitosis, since FANCD2 and FANCI, the 2 key FA proteins, are localized to the extremities of ultrafine DNA bridges (UFBs), which link sister chromatids during cell division. However, whether FA proteins regulate cell division remains unclear. Here we have shown that FA pathway–deficient cells display an increased number of UFBs compared with FA pathway–proficient cells. The UFBs were coated by BLM (the RecQ helicase mutated in Bloom syndrome) in early mitosis. In contrast, the FA protein FANCM was recruited to the UFBs at a later stage. The increased number of bridges in FA pathway–deficient cells correlated with a higher rate of cytokinesis failure resulting in binucleated cells. Binucleated cells were also detectable in primary murine FA pathway–deficient hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and bone marrow stromal cells from human patients with FA. Based on these observations, we suggest that cytokinesis failure followed by apoptosis may contribute to bone marrow failure in patients with FA.
PMCID: PMC2964984  PMID: 20921626
17.  Emi1 Maintains Genomic Integrity during Zebrafish Embryogenesis and Cooperates with p53 in Tumor Suppression▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2009;29(21):5911-5922.
A growing body of evidence indicates that early mitotic inhibitor 1 (Emi1) is essential for genomic stability, but how this function relates to embryonic development and cancer pathogenesis remains unclear. We have identified a zebrafish mutant line in which deficient emi1 gene expression results in multilineage hematopoietic defects and widespread developmental defects that are p53 independent. Cell cycle analyses of Emi1-depleted zebrafish or human cells showed chromosomal rereplication, and metaphase preparations from mutant zebrafish embryos revealed rereplicated, unsegregated chromosomes and polyploidy. Furthermore, EMI1-depleted mammalian cells relied on topoisomerase IIα-dependent mitotic decatenation to progress through metaphase. Interestingly, the loss of a single emi1 allele in the absence of p53 enhanced the susceptibility of adult fish to neural sheath tumorigenesis. Our results cast Emi1 as a critical regulator of genomic fidelity during embryogenesis and suggest that the factor may act as a tumor suppressor.
PMCID: PMC2772726  PMID: 19704007
18.  A Mechanism Linking Extra Centrosomes to Chromosomal Instability 
Nature  2009;460(7252):278-282.
Chromosome instability (CIN) is a hallmark of many tumors and correlates with the presence of extra centrosomes1-4. However, a direct mechanistic link between extra centrosomes and CIN has not been established. It has been proposed that extra centrosomes generate CIN by promoting multipolar anaphase, a highly abnormal division that produces 3 or more aneuploid daughter cells. Here, we use long-term live-cell imaging to demonstrate that cells with multiple centrosomes rarely undergo multipolar cell divisions, and the progeny of these divisions are typically inviable. Thus, multipolar divisions cannot explain observed rates of CIN. By contrast, we observe that CIN cells with extra centrosomes routinely undergo bipolar cell divisions, but display a significantly elevated frequency of lagging chromosomes during anaphase. To define the mechanism underlying this mitotic defect, we generated cells that differ only in their centrosome number. We demonstrate that extra centrosomes alone are sufficient to promote chromosome missegregation during bipolar cell division. These segregation errors are a consequence of cells passing through a transient ‘multipolar spindle intermediate’ in which merotelic kinetochore-microtubule attachment errors accumulate prior to centrosome clustering and anaphase. These findings provide a direct mechanistic link between extra centrosomes and CIN, two common characteristics of solid tumors. We propose that this mechanism may be a common underlying cause of CIN in human cancer.
PMCID: PMC2743290  PMID: 19506557
syntelic; tetraploid; aneuploid; mitosis
19.  G1/S Cyclin-dependent Kinase Regulates Small GTPase Rho1p through Phosphorylation of RhoGEF Tus1p in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2008;19(4):1763-1771.
Rho1p is an essential small GTPase that plays a key role in the morphogenesis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We show here that the activation of Rho1p is regulated by a cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK). Rho1p is activated at the G1/S transition at the incipient-bud sites by the Cln2p (G1 cyclin) and Cdc28p (CDK) complex, in a process mediated by Tus1p, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for Rho1p. Tus1p interacts physically with Cln2p/Cdc28p and is phosphorylated in a Cln2p/Cdc28p-dependent manner. CDK phosphorylation consensus sites in Tus1p are required for both Cln2p-dependent activation of Rho1p and polarized organization of the actin cytoskeleton. We propose that Cln2p/Cdc28p-dependent phosphorylation of Tus1p is required for appropriate temporal and spatial activation of Rho1p at the G1/S transition.
PMCID: PMC2291405  PMID: 18256282
20.  Forkhead Transcription Factor FoxM1 Regulates Mitotic Entry and Prevents Spindle Defects in Cerebellar Granule Neuron Precursors▿ †  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(23):8259-8270.
The forkhead transcription factor FoxM1 has been reported to regulate, variously, proliferation and/or spindle formation during the G2/M transition of the cell cycle. Here we define specific functions of FoxM1 during brain development by the investigation of FoxM1 loss-of-function mutations in the context of Sonic hedgehog (Shh)-induced neuroproliferation in cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNP). We show that FoxM1 is expressed in the cerebellar anlagen as well as in postnatal proliferating CGNP and that it is upregulated in response to activated Shh signaling. To determine the requirements for FoxM1 function, we used transgenic mice carrying conventional null alleles or conditionally targeted alleles in conjunction with specific Cre recombinase expression in CGNP or early neural precursors driven by Math1 or Nestin enhancers. Although the overall cerebellar morphology was grossly normal, we observed that the entry into mitosis was postponed both in vivo and in Shh-treated CGNP cultures. Cell cycle analysis and immunohistochemistry with antibodies against phosphorylated histone H3 indicated a significant delay in the G2/M transition. Consistent with this, FoxM1-deficient CGNP showed decreased levels of the cyclin B1 and Cdc25b proteins. Furthermore, the loss of FoxM1 resulted in spindle defects and centrosome amplification. These findings indicate that the functions of FoxM1 in Shh-induced neuroproliferation are restricted to the regulation of the G2/M transition in CGNP, most probably through transcriptional effects on target genes such as those coding for B-type cyclins.
PMCID: PMC2169184  PMID: 17893320
21.  Mitotic spindle destabilization and genomic instability in Shwachman-Diamond syndrome 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2008;118(4):1511-1518.
Deficiencies in the SBDS gene result in Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS), an inherited bone marrow failure syndrome associated with leukemia predisposition. SBDS encodes a highly conserved protein previously implicated in ribosome biogenesis. Using human primary bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs), lymphoblasts, and skin fibroblasts, we show that SBDS stabilized the mitotic spindle to prevent genomic instability. SBDS colocalized with the mitotic spindle in control primary BMSCs, lymphoblasts, and skin fibroblasts and bound to purified microtubules. Recombinant SBDS protein stabilized microtubules in vitro. We observed that primary BMSCs and lymphoblasts from SDS patients exhibited an increased incidence of abnormal mitoses. Similarly, depletion of SBDS by siRNA in human skin fibroblasts resulted in increased mitotic abnormalities and aneuploidy that accumulated over time. Treatment of primary BMSCs and lymphoblasts from SDS patients with nocodazole, a microtubule destabilizing agent, led to increased mitotic arrest and apoptosis, consistent with spindle destabilization. Conversely, SDS patient cells were resistant to taxol, a microtubule stabilizing agent. These findings suggest that spindle instability in SDS contributes to bone marrow failure and leukemogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2263145  PMID: 18324336
22.  Yeast Formins Bni1 and Bnr1 Utilize Different Modes of Cortical Interaction during the Assembly of Actin Cables 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2007;18(5):1826-1838.
The budding yeast formins Bni1 and Bnr1 control the assembly of actin cables. These formins exhibit distinct patterns of localization and polymerize two different populations of cables: Bni1 in the bud and Bnr1 in the mother cell. We generated a functional Bni1-3GFP that improved the visualization of Bni1 in vivo at endogenous levels. Bni1 exists as speckles in the cytoplasm, some of which colocalize on actin cables. These Bni1 speckles display linear, retrograde-directed movements. Loss of polymerized actin or specifically actin cables abolished retrograde movement, and resulted in depletion of Bni1 speckles from the cytoplasm, with enhanced targeting of Bni1 to the bud tip. Mutations that impair the actin assembly activity of Bni1 abolished the movement of Bni1 speckles, even when actin cables were present. In contrast, Bnr1-GFP or 3GFP-Bnr1 did not detectably associate with actin cables and was not observed as cytoplasmic speckles. Finally, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching demonstrated that Bni1 was very dynamic, exchanging between polarized sites and the cytoplasm, whereas Bnr1 was confined to the bud neck and did not exchange with a cytoplasmic pool. In summary, our results indicate that formins can have distinct modes of cortical interaction during actin cable assembly.
PMCID: PMC1855024  PMID: 17344480
23.  The Differential Roles of Budding Yeast Tem1p, Cdc15p, and Bub2p Protein Dynamics in Mitotic ExitD⃞V⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2004;15(4):1519-1532.
In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae the mitotic spindle must be positioned along the mother-bud axis to activate the mitotic exit network (MEN) in anaphase. To examine MEN proteins during mitotic exit, we imaged the MEN activators Tem1p and Cdc15p and the MEN regulator Bub2p in vivo. Quantitative live cell fluorescence microscopy demonstrated the spindle pole body that segregated into the daughter cell (dSPB) signaled mitotic exit upon penetration into the bud. Activation of mitotic exit was associated with an increased abundance of Tem1p-GFP and the localization of Cdc15p-GFP on the dSPB. In contrast, Bub2p-GFP fluorescence intensity decreased in mid-to-late anaphase on the dSPB. Therefore, MEN protein localization fluctuates to switch from Bub2p inhibition of mitotic exit to Cdc15p activation of mitotic exit. The mechanism that elevates Tem1p-GFP abundance in anaphase is specific to dSPB penetration into the bud and Dhc1p and Lte1p promote Tem1p-GFP localization. Finally, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) measurements revealed Tem1p-GFP is dynamic at the dSPB in late anaphase. These data suggest spindle pole penetration into the bud activates mitotic exit, resulting in Tem1p and Cdc15p persistence at the dSPB to initiate the MEN signal cascade.
PMCID: PMC379252  PMID: 14718561
24.  A Conserved Mechanism for Bni1- and mDia1-induced Actin Assembly and Dual Regulation of Bni1 by Bud6 and Profilin 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2004;15(2):896-907.
Formins have conserved roles in cell polarity and cytokinesis and directly nucleate actin filament assembly through their FH2 domain. Here, we define the active region of the yeast formin Bni1 FH2 domain and show that it dimerizes. Mutations that disrupt dimerization abolish actin assembly activity, suggesting that dimers are the active state of FH2 domains. The Bni1 FH2 domain protects growing barbed ends of actin filaments from vast excesses of capping protein, suggesting that the dimer maintains a persistent association during elongation. This is not a species-specific mechanism, as the activities of purified mammalian formin mDia1 are identical to those of Bni1. Further, mDia1 partially complements BNI1 function in vivo, and expression of a dominant active mDia1 construct in yeast causes similar phenotypes to dominant active Bni1 constructs. In addition, we purified the Bni1-interacting half of the cell polarity factor Bud6 and found that it binds specifically to actin monomers and, like profilin, promotes rapid nucleotide exchange on actin. Bud6 and profilin show additive stimulatory effects on Bni1 activity and have a synthetic lethal genetic interaction in vivo. From these results, we propose a model in which Bni1 FH2 dimers nucleate and processively cap the elongating barbed end of the actin filament, and Bud6 and profilin generate a local flux of ATP-actin monomers to promote actin assembly.
PMCID: PMC329402  PMID: 14657240
25.  The molecular function of Ase1p 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2003;160(4):517-528.
The midzone is the domain of the mitotic spindle that maintains spindle bipolarity during anaphase and generates forces required for spindle elongation (anaphase B). Although there is a clear role for microtubule (MT) motor proteins at the spindle midzone, less is known about how microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) contribute to midzone organization and function. Here, we report that budding yeast Ase1p is a member of a conserved family of midzone-specific MAPs. By size exclusion chromatography and velocity sedimentation, both Ase1p in extracts and purified Ase1p behaved as a homodimer. Ase1p bound and bundled MTs in vitro. By live cell microscopy, loss of Ase1p resulted in a specific defect: premature spindle disassembly in mid-anaphase. Furthermore, when overexpressed, Ase1p was sufficient to trigger spindle elongation in S phase–arrested cells. FRAP revealed that Ase1p has both a very slow rate of turnover within the midzone and limited lateral diffusion along spindle MTs. We propose that Ase1p functions as an MT cross-bridge that imparts matrix-like characteristics to the midzone. MT-dependent networks of spindle midzone MAPs may be one molecular basis for the postulated spindle matrix.
PMCID: PMC2173742  PMID: 12591913
mitosis; microtubule-associated protein; spindle midzone; anaphase; budding yeast

Results 1-25 (31)