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1.  Crosstalk Between Microtubule Attachment Complexes Ensures Accurate Chromosome Segregation* 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2013;342(6163):10.1126/science.1246232.
The microtubule-based mitotic spindle segregates chromosomes during cell division. During chromosome segregation, the centromeric regions of chromosomes build kinetochores that establish end-coupled attachments to spindle microtubules. Here, we used the C. elegans embryo as a model system to examine the crosstalk between two kinetochore protein complexes implicated in temporally distinct stages of attachment formation. The kinetochore dynein module, which mediates initial lateral microtubule capture, inhibited microtubule binding by the Ndc80 complex, which ultimately forms the end-coupled attachments that segregate chromosomes. The kinetochore dynein module directly regulated Ndc80, independently of phosphorylation by Aurora B kinase, and this regulation was required for accurate segregation. Thus, the conversion from initial dynein-mediated, lateral attachments to correctly oriented, Ndc80-mediated end-coupled attachments is actively controlled.
doi:10.1126/science.1246232
PMCID: PMC3885540  PMID: 24231804
2.  Spindle assembly checkpoint proteins are positioned close to core microtubule attachment sites at kinetochores 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2013;202(5):735-746.
Depletion analyses and nanometer-scale mapping of spindle assembly checkpoint proteins reveal how these proteins are integrated within the substructure of the kinetochore.
Spindle assembly checkpoint proteins have been thought to reside in the peripheral corona region of the kinetochore, distal to microtubule attachment sites at the outer plate. However, recent biochemical evidence indicates that checkpoint proteins are closely linked to the core kinetochore microtubule attachment site comprised of the Knl1–Mis12–Ndc80 (KMN) complexes/KMN network. In this paper, we show that the Knl1–Zwint1 complex is required to recruit the Rod–Zwilch–Zw10 (RZZ) and Mad1–Mad2 complexes to the outer kinetochore. Consistent with this, nanometer-scale mapping indicates that RZZ, Mad1–Mad2, and the C terminus of the dynein recruitment factor Spindly are closely juxtaposed with the KMN network in metaphase cells when their dissociation is blocked and the checkpoint is active. In contrast, the N terminus of Spindly is ∼75 nm outside the calponin homology domain of the Ndc80 complex. These results reveal how checkpoint proteins are integrated within the substructure of the kinetochore and will aid in understanding the coordination of microtubule attachment and checkpoint signaling during chromosome segregation.
doi:10.1083/jcb.201304197
PMCID: PMC3760617  PMID: 23979716
3.  An inverse relationship to germline transcription defines centromeric chromatin in C. elegans 
Nature  2012;484(7395):534-537.
Centromeres are chromosomal loci that direct segregation of the genome during cell division. The histone H3 variant CENP-A (also known as CenH3) defines centromeres in monocentric organisms, which confine centromere activity to a discrete chromosomal region, and holocentric organisms, which distribute centromere activity along the chromosome length1–3. Because the highly repetitive DNA found at most centromeres is neither necessary nor sufficient for centromere function, stable inheritance of CENP-A nucleosomal chromatin is postulated to epigenetically propagate centromere identity4. Here, we show that in the holocentric nematode Caenorhabditis elegans pre-existing CENP-A nucleosomes are not necessary to guide recruitment of new CENP-A nucleosomes. This is indicated by lack of CENP-A transmission by sperm during fertilization and by removal and subsequent reloading of CENP-A during oogenic meiotic prophase. Genome-wide mapping of CENP-A location in embryos and quantification of CENP-A molecules in nuclei revealed that CENP-A is incorporated at low density in domains that cumulatively encompass half the genome. Embryonic CENP-A domains are established in a pattern inverse to regions that are transcribed in the germline and early embryo, and ectopic transcription of genes in a mutant germline altered the pattern of CENP-A incorporation in embryos. Furthermore, regions transcribed in the germline but not embryos fail to incorporate CENP-A throughout embryogenesis. We propose that germline transcription defines genomic regions that exclude CENP-A incorporation in progeny, and that zygotic transcription during early embryogenesis remodels and reinforces this basal pattern. These findings link centromere identity to transcription and shed light on the evolutionary plasticity of centromeres.
doi:10.1038/nature10973
PMCID: PMC3538161  PMID: 22495302
4.  Affinity Purification of Protein Complexes in C. elegans 
Methods in Cell Biology  2011;106:289-322.
C. elegans is a powerful metazoan model system to address fundamental questions in cell and developmental biology. Research in C. elegans has traditionally focused on genetic, physiological, and cell biological approaches. However, C. elegans is also a facile system for biochemistry: worms are easy to grow in large quantities, the functionality of tagged fusion proteins can be assessed using mutants or RNAi, and the relevance of putative interaction partners can be rapidly tested in vivo. Combining biochemistry with function-based genetic and RNA interference screens can rapidly accelerate the delineation of protein networks and pathways in diverse contexts. In this chapter, we focus on two strategies to identify protein–protein interactions: single-step immunoprecipitation and tandem affinity purification. We describe methods for growth of worms in large-scale liquid culture, preparation of worm and embryo extracts, immunoprecipitation, and tandem affinity purification. In addition, we describe methods to test specificity of antibodies, strategies for optimizing starting material, and approaches to distinguish specific from non-specific interactions.
doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-544172-8.00011-6
PMCID: PMC3319706  PMID: 22118282
5.  Uncoordinated Loss of Chromatid Cohesion Is a Common Outcome of Extended Metaphase Arrest 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e22969.
Chromosome segregation requires coordinated separation of sister chromatids following biorientation of all chromosomes on the mitotic spindle. Chromatid separation at the metaphase-to-anaphase transition is accomplished by cleavage of the cohesin complex that holds chromatids together. Here we show using live-cell imaging that extending the metaphase bioriented state using five independent perturbations (expression of non-degradable Cyclin B, expression of a Spindly point mutant that prevents spindle checkpoint silencing, depletion of the anaphase inducer Cdc20, treatment with a proteasome inhibitor, or treatment with an inhibitor of the mitotic kinesin CENP-E) leads to eventual scattering of chromosomes on the spindle. This scattering phenotype is characterized by uncoordinated loss of cohesion between some, but not all sister chromatids and subsequent spindle defects that include centriole separation. Cells with scattered chromosomes persist long-term in a mitotic state and eventually die or exit. Partial cohesion loss-associated scattering is observed in both transformed cells and in karyotypically normal human cells, albeit at lower penetrance. Suppressing microtubule dynamics reduces scattering, suggesting that cohesion at centromeres is unable to resist dynamic microtubule-dependent pulling forces on the kinetochores. Consistent with this view, strengthening cohesion by inhibiting the two pathways responsible for its removal significantly inhibits scattering. These results establish that chromosome scattering due to uncoordinated partial loss of chromatid cohesion is a common outcome following extended arrest with bioriented chromosomes in human cells. These findings have important implications for analysis of mitotic phenotypes in human cells and for development of anti-mitotic chemotherapeutic approaches in the treatment of cancer.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022969
PMCID: PMC3149067  PMID: 21829677
6.  Integrative Analysis of the Caenorhabditis elegans Genome by the modENCODE Project 
Gerstein, Mark B. | Lu, Zhi John | Van Nostrand, Eric L. | Cheng, Chao | Arshinoff, Bradley I. | Liu, Tao | Yip, Kevin Y. | Robilotto, Rebecca | Rechtsteiner, Andreas | Ikegami, Kohta | Alves, Pedro | Chateigner, Aurelien | Perry, Marc | Morris, Mitzi | Auerbach, Raymond K. | Feng, Xin | Leng, Jing | Vielle, Anne | Niu, Wei | Rhrissorrakrai, Kahn | Agarwal, Ashish | Alexander, Roger P. | Barber, Galt | Brdlik, Cathleen M. | Brennan, Jennifer | Brouillet, Jeremy Jean | Carr, Adrian | Cheung, Ming-Sin | Clawson, Hiram | Contrino, Sergio | Dannenberg, Luke O. | Dernburg, Abby F. | Desai, Arshad | Dick, Lindsay | Dosé, Andréa C. | Du, Jiang | Egelhofer, Thea | Ercan, Sevinc | Euskirchen, Ghia | Ewing, Brent | Feingold, Elise A. | Gassmann, Reto | Good, Peter J. | Green, Phil | Gullier, Francois | Gutwein, Michelle | Guyer, Mark S. | Habegger, Lukas | Han, Ting | Henikoff, Jorja G. | Henz, Stefan R. | Hinrichs, Angie | Holster, Heather | Hyman, Tony | Iniguez, A. Leo | Janette, Judith | Jensen, Morten | Kato, Masaomi | Kent, W. James | Kephart, Ellen | Khivansara, Vishal | Khurana, Ekta | Kim, John K. | Kolasinska-Zwierz, Paulina | Lai, Eric C. | Latorre, Isabel | Leahey, Amber | Lewis, Suzanna | Lloyd, Paul | Lochovsky, Lucas | Lowdon, Rebecca F. | Lubling, Yaniv | Lyne, Rachel | MacCoss, Michael | Mackowiak, Sebastian D. | Mangone, Marco | McKay, Sheldon | Mecenas, Desirea | Merrihew, Gennifer | Miller, David M. | Muroyama, Andrew | Murray, John I. | Ooi, Siew-Loon | Pham, Hoang | Phippen, Taryn | Preston, Elicia A. | Rajewsky, Nikolaus | Rätsch, Gunnar | Rosenbaum, Heidi | Rozowsky, Joel | Rutherford, Kim | Ruzanov, Peter | Sarov, Mihail | Sasidharan, Rajkumar | Sboner, Andrea | Scheid, Paul | Segal, Eran | Shin, Hyunjin | Shou, Chong | Slack, Frank J. | Slightam, Cindie | Smith, Richard | Spencer, William C. | Stinson, E. O. | Taing, Scott | Takasaki, Teruaki | Vafeados, Dionne | Voronina, Ksenia | Wang, Guilin | Washington, Nicole L. | Whittle, Christina M. | Wu, Beijing | Yan, Koon-Kiu | Zeller, Georg | Zha, Zheng | Zhong, Mei | Zhou, Xingliang | Ahringer, Julie | Strome, Susan | Gunsalus, Kristin C. | Micklem, Gos | Liu, X. Shirley | Reinke, Valerie | Kim, Stuart K. | Hillier, LaDeana W. | Henikoff, Steven | Piano, Fabio | Snyder, Michael | Stein, Lincoln | Lieb, Jason D. | Waterston, Robert H.
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2010;330(6012):1775-1787.
We systematically generated large-scale data sets to improve genome annotation for the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, a key model organism. These data sets include transcriptome profiling across a developmental time course, genome-wide identification of transcription factor–binding sites, and maps of chromatin organization. From this, we created more complete and accurate gene models, including alternative splice forms and candidate noncoding RNAs. We constructed hierarchical networks of transcription factor–binding and microRNA interactions and discovered chromosomal locations bound by an unusually large number of transcription factors. Different patterns of chromatin composition and histone modification were revealed between chromosome arms and centers, with similarly prominent differences between autosomes and the X chromosome. Integrating data types, we built statistical models relating chromatin, transcription factor binding, and gene expression. Overall, our analyses ascribed putative functions to most of the conserved genome.
doi:10.1126/science.1196914
PMCID: PMC3142569  PMID: 21177976
7.  PHF8 Mediates Histone H4 Lysine 20 Demethylation Events Involved in Cell Cycle Progression 
Nature  2010;466(7305):508-512.
While reversible histone modifications are linked to an ever-expanding range of biological functions1–5, the demethylases for histone H4 lysine 20 and their potential regulatory roles remain unknown. Here, we report that the PHD and Jumonji C (JmjC) domain-containing protein, PHF8, while utilizing multiple substrates, including H3K9me1/2 and H3K27me2, also functions as an H4K20me1 demethylase. PHF8 is recruited to promoters by its PHD domain based on interaction with H3K4me2/3 and controls G1/S transition in conjunction with E2F1, HCF-1 and Set1A, at least in part, by removing the repressive H4K20me1 mark from a subset of E2F1-regulated gene promoters. Phosphorylation-dependent PHF8 dismissal from chromatin in prophase is apparently required for the accumulation of H4K20me1 during early mitosis, which might represent a component of the Condensin II loading process. Accordingly, the HEAT repeat clusters in two non-SMC Condensin II subunits, N-CAPD3 and N-CAPG2, are capable of recognizing H4K20me1, and ChIP-seq. analysis demonstrate a significant overlap of Condensin II and H4K20me1 sites in mitotic HeLa cells. Thus, the identification and characterization of the first H4K20me1 demethylase, PHF8, has revealed an intimate link between this enzyme and two distinct events in cell cycle progression.
doi:10.1038/nature09272
PMCID: PMC3059551  PMID: 20622854
8.  Deconstructing Survivin: comprehensive genetic analysis of Survivin function by conditional knockout in a vertebrate cell line 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2008;183(2):279-296.
Survivin is a key cellular protein thought to function in apoptotic regulation, mitotic progression, or possibly both. In this study, we describe the isolation of two conditional knockouts of the survivin gene in chicken DT40 cells. DT40 cells lacking Survivin die in interphase after failing to complete cytokinesis. However, these cells show normal sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic agent etoposide. Expression of Survivin mutants against a null background to reassess the role of several key residues reveals that DT40 cells can grow normally if their sole Survivin is missing a widely studied cyclin-dependent kinase phosphorylation site or sites reportedly essential for binding to Smac or aurora B. Mutations in the nuclear export sequence or dimerization interface render cells temperature sensitive for growth. As an important caveat for other studies in which protein function is studied by transient transfection, three of the Survivin mutants fail to localize in the presence of the wild-type protein but do localize and indeed support life in its absence.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200806118
PMCID: PMC2568024  PMID: 18936249
9.  Inactivation of a Human Kinetochore by Specific Targeting of Chromatin Modifiers 
Developmental Cell  2008;14(4):507-522.
Summary
We have used a human artificial chromosome (HAC) to manipulate the epigenetic state of chromatin within an active kinetochore. The HAC has a dimeric α-satellite repeat containing one natural monomer with a CENP-B binding site, and one completely artificial synthetic monomer with the CENP-B box replaced by a tetracycline operator (tetO). This HAC exhibits normal kinetochore protein composition and mitotic stability. Targeting of several tet-repressor (tetR) fusions into the centromere had no effect on kinetochore function. However, altering the chromatin state to a more open configuration with the tTA transcriptional activator or to a more closed state with the tTS transcription silencer caused missegregation and loss of the HAC. tTS binding caused the loss of CENP-A, CENP-B, CENP-C, and H3K4me2 from the centromere accompanied by an accumulation of histone H3K9me3. Our results reveal that a dynamic balance between centromeric chromatin and heterochromatin is essential for vertebrate kinetochore activity.
doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2008.02.001
PMCID: PMC2311382  PMID: 18410728
CELLBIO; DNA
10.  Borealin 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2004;166(2):179-191.
The chromosomal passenger complex of Aurora B kinase, INCENP, and Survivin has essential regulatory roles at centromeres and the central spindle in mitosis. Here, we describe Borealin, a novel member of the complex. Approximately half of Aurora B in mitotic cells is complexed with INCENP, Borealin, and Survivin; and Borealin binds Survivin and INCENP in vitro. A second complex contains Aurora B and INCENP, but no Borealin or Survivin. Depletion of Borealin by RNA interference delays mitotic progression and results in kinetochore–spindle misattachments and an increase in bipolar spindles associated with ectopic asters. The extra poles, which apparently form after chromosomes achieve a bipolar orientation, severely disrupt the partitioning of chromosomes in anaphase. Borealin depletion has little effect on histone H3 serine10 phosphorylation. These results implicate the chromosomal passenger holocomplex in the maintenance of spindle integrity and suggest that histone H3 serine10 phosphorylation is performed by an Aurora B–INCENP subcomplex.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200404001
PMCID: PMC2172304  PMID: 15249581
mitosis; Aurora B kinase; Survivin; INCENP; TD-60

Results 1-10 (10)