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1.  The Caenorhabditis elegans pericentriolar material components SPD-2 and SPD-5 are monomeric in the cytoplasm before incorporation into the PCM matrix 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(19):2984-2992.
Although cytoplasmic interactions between Caenorhabditis elegans centrosome proteins SPD-5, RSA-1, and RSA-2 can be detected in vivo, the key proteins required for centrosome assembly, SPD-2 and SPD-5, exist mostly as monomers and are separated from the centrosome-related kinases PLK-1 and AIR-1 in the cytoplasm.
Centrosomes are the main microtubule-organizing centers in animal cells. Centrosomes consist of a pair of centrioles surrounded by a matrix of pericentriolar material (PCM) that assembles from cytoplasmic components. In Caenorhabditis elegans embryos, interactions between the coiled-coil proteins SPD-5 and SPD-2 and the kinase PLK-1 are critical for PCM assembly. However, it is not known whether these interactions promote the formation of cytoplasmic complexes that are added to the PCM or whether the components interact only during incorporation into the PCM matrix. Here we address this problem by using a combination of live-cell fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and hydrodynamic techniques to investigate the native state of PCM components in the cytoplasm. We show that SPD-2 is monomeric, and neither SPD-2 nor SPD-5 exists in complex with PLK-1. SPD-5 exists mostly as a monomer but also forms complexes with the PP2A-regulatory proteins RSA-1 and RSA-2, which are required for microtubule organization at centrosomes. These results suggest that the interactions between SPD-2, SPD-5, and PLK-1 do not result in formation of cytoplasmic complexes, but instead occur in the context of PCM assembly.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E13-09-0514
PMCID: PMC4230587  PMID: 25103243
2.  Systematic Phosphorylation Analysis of Human Mitotic Protein Complexes 
Science signaling  2011;4(198):rs12.
Progression through mitosis depends on a large number of protein complexes that regulate the major structural and physiological changes necessary for faithful chromosome segregation. Most, if not all, of the mitotic processes are regulated by a set of mitotic protein kinases that control protein activity by phosphorylation. Although many mitotic phosphorylation events have been identified in proteome-scale mass spectrometry studies, information on how these phosphorylation sites are distributed within mitotic protein complexes and which kinases generate these phosphorylation sites is largely lacking. We used systematic protein-affinity purification combined with mass spectrometry to identify 1818 phosphorylation sites in more than 100 mitotic protein complexes. In many complexes the phosphorylation sites were concentrated on a few subunits, suggesting that these subunits serve as “switchboards” to relay the kinase-regulatory signals within the complexes. Consequent bioinformatic analyses identified potential kinase – substrate relationships for most of these sites. In a subsequent in-depth analysis of key mitotic regulatory complexes using the Aurora kinase B (AURKB) inhibitor Hesperadin and a new Pololike kinase (PLK1) inhibitor, BI 4834, we determined the kinase-dependency for 172 phosphorylation sites on 41 proteins. Combination of the results of the cellular studies with Scansite motif prediction enabled us to identify 14 sites on 6 proteins as direct candidate substrates of AURKB or PLK1.
doi:10.1126/scisignal.2001993
PMCID: PMC4206221  PMID: 22067460
3.  Pericentriolar material structure and dynamics 
A centrosome consists of two barrel-shaped centrioles embedded in a matrix of proteins known as the pericentriolar material (PCM). The PCM serves as a platform for protein complexes that regulate organelle trafficking, protein degradation and spindle assembly. Perhaps most important for cell division, the PCM concentrates tubulin and serves as the primary organizing centre for microtubules in metazoan somatic cells. Thus, similar to other well-described organelles, such as the nucleus and mitochondria, the cell has compartmentalized a multitude of vital biochemical reactions in the PCM. However, unlike these other organelles, the PCM is not membrane bound, but rather a dynamic collection of protein complexes and nucleic acids that constitute the organelle's interior and determine its boundary. How is the complex biochemical machinery necessary for the myriad centrosome functions concentrated and maintained in the PCM? Recent advances in proteomics and RNAi screening have unveiled most of the key PCM components and hinted at their molecular interactions ( table 1). Now we must understand how the interactions between these molecules contribute to the mesoscale organization and the assembly of the centrosome. Among outstanding questions are the intrinsic mechanisms that determine PCM shape and size, and how it functions as a biochemical reaction hub.
doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0459
PMCID: PMC4113103  PMID: 25047613
pericentriolar material; centrosome; organelle scaling; microtubule-organizing centre
4.  Quantification of surface tension and internal pressure generated by single mitotic cells 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6213.
During mitosis, adherent cells round up, by increasing the tension of the contractile actomyosin cortex while increasing the internal hydrostatic pressure. In the simple scenario of a liquid cell interior, the surface tension is related to the local curvature and the hydrostatic pressure difference by Laplace's law. However, verification of this scenario for cells requires accurate measurements of cell shape. Here, we use wedged micro-cantilevers to uniaxially confine single cells and determine confinement forces while concurrently determining cell shape using confocal microscopy. We fit experimentally measured confined cell shapes to shapes obeying Laplace's law with uniform surface tension and find quantitative agreement. Geometrical parameters derived from fitting the cell shape, and the measured force were used to calculate hydrostatic pressure excess and surface tension of cells. We find that HeLa cells increase their internal hydrostatic pressure excess and surface tension from ≈ 40 Pa and 0.2 mNm−1 during interphase to ≈ 400 Pa and 1.6 mNm−1 during metaphase. The method introduced provides a means to determine internal pressure excess and surface tension of rounded cells accurately and with minimal cellular perturbation, and should be applicable to characterize the mechanical properties of various cellular systems.
doi:10.1038/srep06213
PMCID: PMC4148660  PMID: 25169063
5.  Products of the Parkinson's disease-related glyoxalase DJ-1, D-lactate and glycolate, support mitochondrial membrane potential and neuronal survival 
Biology Open  2014;3(8):777-784.
Abstract
Parkinson's disease is associated with mitochondrial decline in dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra. One of the genes linked with the onset of Parkinson's disease, DJ-1/PARK7, belongs to a novel glyoxalase family and influences mitochondrial activity. It has been assumed that glyoxalases fulfill this task by detoxifying aggressive aldehyde by-products of metabolism. Here we show that supplying either D-lactate or glycolate, products of DJ-1, rescues the requirement for the enzyme in maintenance of mitochondrial potential. We further show that glycolic acid and D-lactic acid can elevate lowered mitochondrial membrane potential caused by silencing PINK-1, another Parkinson's related gene, as well as by paraquat, an environmental toxin known to be linked with Parkinson's disease. We propose that DJ-1 and consequently its products are components of a novel pathway that stabilizes mitochondria during cellular stress. We go on to show that survival of cultured mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons, defective in Parkinson's disease, is enhanced by glycolate and D-lactate. Because glycolic and D-lactic acids occur naturally, they are therefore a potential therapeutic route for treatment or prevention of Parkinson's disease.
doi:10.1242/bio.20149399
PMCID: PMC4133730  PMID: 25063200
Parkinson's disease; Glyoxalase; D-lactate; Glycolate; Mitochondrial membrane potential
6.  Coiled-Coil Proteins Facilitated the Functional Expansion of the Centrosome 
PLoS Computational Biology  2014;10(6):e1003657.
Repurposing existing proteins for new cellular functions is recognized as a main mechanism of evolutionary innovation, but its role in organelle evolution is unclear. Here, we explore the mechanisms that led to the evolution of the centrosome, an ancestral eukaryotic organelle that expanded its functional repertoire through the course of evolution. We developed a refined sequence alignment technique that is more sensitive to coiled coil proteins, which are abundant in the centrosome. For proteins with high coiled-coil content, our algorithm identified 17% more reciprocal best hits than BLAST. Analyzing 108 eukaryotic genomes, we traced the evolutionary history of centrosome proteins. In order to assess how these proteins formed the centrosome and adopted new functions, we computationally emulated evolution by iteratively removing the most recently evolved proteins from the centrosomal protein interaction network. Coiled-coil proteins that first appeared in the animal–fungi ancestor act as scaffolds and recruit ancestral eukaryotic proteins such as kinases and phosphatases to the centrosome. This process created a signaling hub that is crucial for multicellular development. Our results demonstrate how ancient proteins can be co-opted to different cellular localizations, thereby becoming involved in novel functions.
Author Summary
The centrosome helps cells to divide, and is important for the development of animals. It has its evolutionary origins in the basal body, which was present in the last common ancestor of all eukaryotes. Here, we study how the evolution of novel proteins helped the formation of the centrosome. Coiled-coil proteins are important for the function of the centrosome. But, they have repeating patterns that can confuse existing methods for finding related proteins. We refined these methods by adjusting for the special properties of the coiled-coil regions. This enabled us to find more distant relatives of centrosomal proteins. We then tested how novel proteins affect the protein interaction network of the centrosome. We did this by removing the most novel proteins step by step. At each stage, we observed how the remaining proteins are connected to the centriole, the core of the centrosome. We found that coiled-coil proteins that first occurred in the ancestor of fungi and animals help to recruit older proteins. By being recruited to the centrosome, these older proteins acquired new functions. We thus now have a clearer picture of how the centrosome became such an important part of animal cells.
doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003657
PMCID: PMC4046923  PMID: 24901223
7.  The human cap-binding complex is functionally connected to the nuclear RNA exosome 
Nature structural & molecular biology  2013;20(12):1367-1376.
Nuclear processing and quality control of eukaryotic RNA is mediated by the RNA exosome, which is regulated by accessory factors. However, the mechanism of exosome recruitment to its ribonucleoprotein (RNP) targets remains poorly understood. Here we disclose a physical link between the human exosome and the cap-binding complex (CBC). The CBC associates with the ARS2 protein to form CBC-ARS2 (CBCA), and then further connects together with the ZC3H18 protein to the nuclear exosome targeting (NEXT) complex, forming CBC-NEXT (CBCN). RNA immunoprecipitation using CBCN factors as well as the analysis of combinatorial depletion of CBCN and exosome components underscore the functional relevance of CBC-exosome bridging at the level of target RNA. Specifically, CBCA suppresses read-through products of several RNA families by promoting their transcriptional termination. We suggest that the RNP 5′cap links transcription termination to exosomal RNA degradation via CBCN.
doi:10.1038/nsmb.2703
PMCID: PMC3923317  PMID: 24270879
8.  Encouraging innovation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(4):427-428.
Innovation is central to the scientific endeavor, and yet the current system of funding in the United States discourages innovation, especially in the young. Subtle alterations to the funding system, guided in part by the success of the European Research Council, could have major effects on encouraging innovation.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E13-10-0596
PMCID: PMC3923634  PMID: 24525947
9.  A genome scale resource for in vivo tag-based protein function exploration in C. elegans 
Cell  2012;150(4):855-866.
Understanding the in vivo dynamics of protein localization and their physical interactions is important for many problems in Biology. To enable systematic protein function interrogation in a multicelluar context, we built a genome-scale transgenic platform for in vivo expression of fluorescent and affinity tagged proteins in Caenorhabditis elegans under endogenous cis regulatory control. The platform combines computer-assisted transgene design, massively parallel DNA engineering and next generation sequencing to generate a resource of 14637 genomic DNA transgenes, which covers 73% of the proteome. The multipurpose tag used allows any protein of interest to be localized in vivo or affinity purified using standard tag-based assays. We illustrate the utility of the resource by systematic chromatin immunopurification and automated 4D imaging, which produced detailed DNA binding and cell/tissue distribution maps for key transcription factor proteins
doi:10.1016/j.cell.2012.08.001
PMCID: PMC3979301  PMID: 22901814
10.  C11ORF24 Is a Novel Type I Membrane Protein That Cycles between the Golgi Apparatus and the Plasma Membrane in Rab6-Positive Vesicles 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82223.
The Golgi apparatus is an intracellular compartment necessary for post-translational modification, sorting and transport of proteins. It plays a key role in mitotic entry through the Golgi mitotic checkpoint. In order to identify new proteins involved in the Golgi mitotic checkpoint, we combine the results of a knockdown screen for mitotic phenotypes and a localization screen. Using this approach, we identify a new Golgi protein C11ORF24 (NP_071733.1). We show that C11ORF24 has a signal peptide at the N-terminus and a transmembrane domain in the C-terminal region. C11ORF24 is localized on the Golgi apparatus and on the trans-Golgi network. A large part of the protein is present in the lumen of the Golgi apparatus whereas only a short tail extends into the cytosol. This cytosolic tail is well conserved in evolution. By FRAP experiments we show that the dynamics of C11ORF24 in the Golgi membrane are coherent with the presence of a transmembrane domain in the protein. C11ORF24 is not only present on the Golgi apparatus but also cycles to the plasma membrane via endosomes in a pH sensitive manner. Moreover, via video-microscopy studies we show that C11ORF24 is found on transport intermediates and is colocalized with the small GTPase RAB6, a GTPase involved in anterograde transport from the Golgi to the plasma membrane. Knocking down C11ORF24 does not lead to a mitotic phenotype or an intracellular transport defect in our hands. All together, these data suggest that C11ORF24 is present on the Golgi apparatus, transported to the plasma membrane and cycles back through the endosomes by way of RAB6 positive carriers.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082223
PMCID: PMC3846831  PMID: 24312644
11.  Live-cell imaging RNAi screen identifies PP2A–B55α and importin-β1 as key mitotic exit regulators in human cells 
Nature cell biology  2010;12(9):10.1038/ncb2092.
When vertebrate cells exit mitosis various cellular structures are re-organized to build functional interphase cells1. This depends on Cdk1 (cyclin dependent kinase 1) inactivation and subsequent dephosphorylation of its substrates2–4. Members of the protein phosphatase 1 and 2A (PP1 and PP2A) families can dephosphorylate Cdk1 substrates in biochemical extracts during mitotic exit5,6, but how this relates to postmitotic reassembly of interphase structures in intact cells is not known. Here, we use a live-cell imaging assay and RNAi knockdown to screen a genome-wide library of protein phosphatases for mitotic exit functions in human cells. We identify a trimeric PP2A–B55α complex as a key factor in mitotic spindle breakdown and postmitotic reassembly of the nuclear envelope, Golgi apparatus and decondensed chromatin. Using a chemically induced mitotic exit assay, we find that PP2A–B55α functions downstream of Cdk1 inactivation. PP2A–B55α isolated from mitotic cells had reduced phosphatase activity towards the Cdk1 substrate, histone H1, and was hyper-phosphorylated on all subunits. Mitotic PP2A complexes co-purified with the nuclear transport factor importin-β1, and RNAi depletion of importin-β1 delayed mitotic exit synergistically with PP2A–B55α. This demonstrates that PP2A–B55α and importin-β1 cooperate in the regulation of postmitotic assembly mechanisms in human cells.
doi:10.1038/ncb2092
PMCID: PMC3839080  PMID: 20711181
12.  A Systematic Mammalian Genetic Interaction Map Reveals Pathways Underlying Ricin Susceptibility 
Cell  2013;152(4):909-922.
SUMMARY
Genetic interaction (GI) maps, comprising pairwise measures of how strongly the function of one gene depends on the presence of a second, have enabled the systematic exploration of gene function in microorganisms. Here, we present a two-stage strategy to construct high-density GI maps in mammalian cells. First, we use ultra-complex pooled shRNA libraries (25 shRNAs/gene) to identify high-confidence hit genes for a given phenotype and effective shRNAs. We then construct double-shRNA libraries from these to systematically measure GIs between hits. A GI map focused on ricin susceptibility broadly recapitulates known pathways and provides many unexpected insights. These include a non-canonical role for COPI, a novel protein complex (SRIC) affecting toxin clearance, a specialized role for the ribosomal protein RPS25, and functionally distinct mammalian TRAPP complexes. The ability to rapidly generate mammalian GI maps provides a potentially transformative tool for defining gene function and designing combination therapies based on synergistic pairs.
doi:10.1016/j.cell.2013.01.030
PMCID: PMC3652613  PMID: 23394947
13.  APC15 mediates CDC20 auto-ubiquitylation by APC/CMCC and MCC disassembly 
Nature structural & molecular biology  2012;19(11):1116-1123.
The anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome bound to CDC20 (APC/CCDC20) initiates anaphase by ubiquitylating B-type cyclins and securin. During chromosome bi-orientation, CDC20 assembles with MAD2, BUBR1 and BUB3 into a mitotic checkpoint complex (MCC) which inhibits substrate recruitment to the APC/C. APC/C activation depends on MCC disassembly, which has been proposed to require CDC20 auto-ubiquitylation. Here we characterized APC15, a human APC/C subunit related to yeast Mnd2. APC15 is located near APC/C’s MCC binding site, is required for APC/CMCC-dependent CDC20 auto-ubiquitylation and degradation, and for timely anaphase initiation, but is dispensable for substrate ubiquitylation by APC/CCDC20 and APC/CCDH1. Our results support the view that MCC is continuously assembled and disassembled to enable rapid activation of APC/CCDC20 and that CDC20 auto-ubiquitylation promotes MCC disassembly. We propose that APC15 and Mnd2 negatively regulate APC/C coactivators, and report the first generation of recombinant human APC/C.
doi:10.1038/nsmb.2412
PMCID: PMC3498062  PMID: 23007861
15.  One-step purification of assembly-competent tubulin from diverse eukaryotic sources 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(22):4393-4401.
A method is presented that allows rapid and efficient purification of native, active tubulin from a variety of species and tissue sources by affinity chromatography. It eliminates the need to use heterologous systems for the study of microtubule-associated proteins and motor proteins, which has been a major issue in microtubule-related research.
We have developed a protocol that allows rapid and efficient purification of native, active tubulin from a variety of species and tissue sources by affinity chromatography. The affinity matrix comprises a bacterially expressed, recombinant protein, the TOG1/2 domains from Saccharomyces cerevisiae Stu2, covalently coupled to a Sepharose support. The resin has a high capacity to specifically bind tubulin from clarified crude cell extracts, and, after washing, highly purified tubulin can be eluted under mild conditions. The eluted tubulin is fully functional and can be efficiently assembled into microtubules. The method eliminates the need to use heterologous systems for the study of microtubule-associated proteins and motor proteins, which has been a major issue in microtubule-related research.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E12-06-0444
PMCID: PMC3496613  PMID: 22993214
16.  Sds22 and Repo-Man stabilize chromosome segregation by counteracting Aurora B on anaphase kinetochores 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2012;198(2):173-183.
Repo-Man and Sds22 counteract Aurora B phosphorylation of Dsn1 and thus regulate the kinetochore–microtubule interface during anaphase.
During mitotic spindle assembly, Aurora B kinase is part of an error correction mechanism that detaches microtubules from kinetochores that are under low mechanical tension. During anaphase, however, kinetochore–microtubule attachments must be maintained despite a drop of tension after removal of sister chromatid cohesion. Consistent with this requirement, Aurora B relocates away from chromosomes to the central spindle at the metaphase–anaphase transition. By ribonucleic acid interference screening using a phosphorylation biosensor, we identified two PP1-targeting subunits, Sds22 and Repo-Man, which counteracted Aurora B–dependent phosphorylation of the outer kinetochore component Dsn1 during anaphase. Sds22 or Repo-Man depletion induced transient pauses during poleward chromosome movement and a high incidence of chromosome missegregation. Thus, our study identifies PP1-targeting subunits that regulate the microtubule–kinetochore interface during anaphase for faithful chromosome segregation.
doi:10.1083/jcb.201112112
PMCID: PMC3410419  PMID: 22801782
17.  BICD2, dynactin, and LIS1 cooperate in regulating dynein recruitment to cellular structures 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(21):4226-4241.
This study dissects the recruitment of dynein and dynactin to cargo by a conserved motor adaptor BICD2. It is shown that dynein, dynactin, and BICD2 form a triple complex in vitro and in vivo. Investigation of the properties of this complex by direct visualization of dynein in live cells shows that BICD2-induced dynein transport requires LIS1.
Cytoplasmic dynein is the major microtubule minus-end–directed cellular motor. Most dynein activities require dynactin, but the mechanisms regulating cargo-dependent dynein–dynactin interaction are poorly understood. In this study, we focus on dynein–dynactin recruitment to cargo by the conserved motor adaptor Bicaudal D2 (BICD2). We show that dynein and dynactin depend on each other for BICD2-mediated targeting to cargo and that BICD2 N-terminus (BICD2-N) strongly promotes stable interaction between dynein and dynactin both in vitro and in vivo. Direct visualization of dynein in live cells indicates that by itself the triple BICD2-N–dynein–dynactin complex is unable to interact with either cargo or microtubules. However, tethering of BICD2-N to different membranes promotes their microtubule minus-end–directed motility. We further show that LIS1 is required for dynein-mediated transport induced by membrane tethering of BICD2-N and that LIS1 contributes to dynein accumulation at microtubule plus ends and BICD2-positive cellular structures. Our results demonstrate that dynein recruitment to cargo requires concerted action of multiple dynein cofactors.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E12-03-0210
PMCID: PMC3484101  PMID: 22956769
18.  GTSE1 Is a Microtubule Plus-End Tracking Protein That Regulates EB1-Dependent Cell Migration 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51259.
The regulation of cell migration is a highly complex process that is often compromised when cancer cells become metastatic. The microtubule cytoskeleton is necessary for cell migration, but how microtubules and microtubule-associated proteins regulate multiple pathways promoting cell migration remains unclear. Microtubule plus-end binding proteins (+TIPs) are emerging as important players in many cellular functions, including cell migration. Here we identify a +TIP, GTSE1, that promotes cell migration. GTSE1 accumulates at growing microtubule plus ends through interaction with the EB1+TIP. The EB1-dependent +TIP activity of GTSE1 is required for cell migration, as well as for microtubule-dependent disassembly of focal adhesions. GTSE1 protein levels determine the migratory capacity of both nontransformed and breast cancer cell lines. In breast cancers, increased GTSE1 expression correlates with invasive potential, tumor stage, and time to distant metastasis, suggesting that misregulation of GTSE1 expression could be associated with increased invasive potential.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051259
PMCID: PMC3517537  PMID: 23236459
19.  Stoichiometry of chromatin-associated protein complexes revealed by label-free quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomics 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;41(1):e28.
Many cellular proteins assemble into macromolecular protein complexes. The identification of protein–protein interactions and quantification of their stoichiometry is therefore crucial to understand the molecular function of protein complexes. Determining the stoichiometry of protein complexes is usually achieved by mass spectrometry-based methods that rely on introducing stable isotope-labeled reference peptides into the sample of interest. However, these approaches are laborious and not suitable for high-throughput screenings. Here, we describe a robust and easy to implement label-free relative quantification approach that combines the detection of high-confidence protein–protein interactions with an accurate determination of the stoichiometry of the identified protein–protein interactions in a single experiment. We applied this method to two chromatin-associated protein complexes for which the stoichiometry thus far remained elusive: the MBD3/NuRD and PRC2 complex. For each of these complexes, we accurately determined the stoichiometry of the core subunits while at the same time identifying novel interactors and their stoichiometry.
doi:10.1093/nar/gks941
PMCID: PMC3592467  PMID: 23066101
20.  A High-Resolution C. elegans Essential Gene Network Based on Phenotypic Profiling of a Complex Tissue 
Cell  2011;145(3):470-482.
SUMMARY
High-content screening for gene profiling has generally been limited to single cells. Here, we explore an alternative approach—profiling gene function by analyzing effects of gene knockdowns on the architecture of a complex tissue in a multicellular organism. We profile 554 essential C. elegans genes by imaging gonad architecture and scoring 94 phenotypic features. To generate a reference for evaluating methods for network construction, genes were manually partitioned into 102 phenotypic classes, predicting functions for uncharacterized genes across diverse cellular processes. Using this classification as a benchmark, we developed a robust computational method for constructing gene networks from high-content profiles based on a network context-dependent measure that ranks the significance of links between genes. Our analysis reveals that multi-parametric profiling in a complex tissue yields functional maps with a resolution similar to genetic interaction-based profiling in unicellular eukaryotes—pinpointing subunits of macromolecular complexes and components functioning in common cellular processes.
doi:10.1016/j.cell.2011.03.037
PMCID: PMC3086541  PMID: 21529718
21.  Whither systems biology 
Cell biologists are interested in how complexity arises from the interaction of different molecules. However, cells are many orders of magnitude larger than the protein-binding interfaces. To bridge these vast difference in scales, biologists construct hierarchies of organization of cellular structures. I describe how systems biology provides an approach to bridge these different scales.
doi:10.1098/rstb.2011.0074
PMCID: PMC3203457  PMID: 22084389
systems biology; modelling; cell cycle
22.  PAR proteins diffuse freely across the anterior–posterior boundary in polarized C. elegans embryos 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2011;193(3):583-594.
FRAP reveals that a stable PAR boundary requires balancing diffusive flux of PAR proteins between domains with spatial differences in PAR protein membrane affinities.
Polarization of cells by PAR proteins requires the segregation of antagonistic sets of proteins into two mutually exclusive membrane-associated domains. Understanding how nanometer scale interactions between individual PAR proteins allow spatial organization across cellular length scales requires determining the kinetic properties of PAR proteins and how they are modified in space. We find that PAR-2 and PAR-6, which localize to opposing PAR domains, undergo exchange between well mixed cytoplasmic populations and laterally diffusing membrane-associated states. Domain maintenance does not involve diffusion barriers, lateral sorting, or active transport. Rather, both PAR proteins are free to diffuse between domains, giving rise to a continuous boundary flux because of lateral diffusion of molecules down the concentration gradients that exist across the embryo. Our results suggest that the equalizing effects of lateral diffusion are countered by actin-independent differences in the effective membrane affinities of PAR proteins between the two domains, which likely depend on the ability of each PAR species to locally modulate the membrane affinity of opposing PAR species within its domain. We propose that the stably polarized embryo reflects a dynamic steady state in which molecules undergo continuous diffusion between regions of net association and dissociation.
doi:10.1083/jcb.201011094
PMCID: PMC3087016  PMID: 21518794
23.  Phenotypic profiling of the human genome by time-lapse microscopy reveals cell division genes 
Nature  2010;464(7289):721-727.
Despite our rapidly growing knowledge about the human genome, we do not know all of the genes required for some of the most basic functions of life. To start to fill this gap we developed a high-throughput phenotypic screening platform combining potent gene silencing by RNA interference, time-lapse microscopy and computational image processing. We carried out a genome-wide phenotypic profiling of each of the ~21,000 human protein-coding genes by two-day live imaging of fluorescently labelled chromosomes. Phenotypes were scored quantitatively by computational image processing, which allowed us to identify hundreds of human genes involved in diverse biological functions including cell division, migration and survival. As part of the Mitocheck consortium, this study provides an in-depth analysis of cell division phenotypes and makes the entire high-content data set available as a resource to the community.
doi:10.1038/nature08869
PMCID: PMC3108885  PMID: 20360735
24.  Systematic Characterization of Human Protein Complexes Identifies Chromosome Segregation Proteins 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2010;328(5978):593-599.
Chromosome segregation and cell division are essential, highly ordered processes that depend on numerous protein complexes. Results from recent RNA interference (RNAi) screens indicate that the identity and composition of these protein complexes is incompletely understood. Using gene tagging on bacterial artificial chromosomes, protein localization and tandem affinity purification-mass spectrometry, the MitoCheck consortium has analyzed about 100 human protein complexes, many of which had not or only incompletely been characterized. This work has led to the discovery of previously unknown, evolutionarily conserved subunits of the anaphase-promoting complex (APC/C) and the γ-tubulin ring complex (γ-TuRC), large complexes which are essential for spindle assembly and chromosome segregation. The approaches we describe here are generally applicable to high throughput follow-up analyses of phenotypic screens in mammalian cells.
doi:10.1126/science.1181348
PMCID: PMC2989461  PMID: 20360068
25.  The RSA complex targets Protein Phosphatase 2A to centrosomes and regulates mitotic spindle assembly in C. elegans 
Cell  2007;128(1):115-127.
Microtubule behavior changes during the cell cycle and during spindle assembly. However it remains unclear how these changes are regulated and coordinated. We describe a complex that targets the Protein Phosphatase 2A holoenzyme (PP2A) to centrosomes in C. elegans embryos. This complex includes RSA-1, a targeting subunit for PP2A, and RSA-2, a protein that binds and recruits RSA-1 to centrosomes. In contrast to the multiple functions of the PP2A catalytic subunit, RSA-1 and RSA-2 are specifically required for microtubule outgrowth from centrosomes and for spindle assembly. The centrosomally localized RSA-PP2A complex mediates these functions in part by regulating two critical mitotic effectors: the microtubule destabilizer KLP-7 and the C. elegans regulator of spindle assembly TPXL-1. Therefore, by recruiting the PP2A catalytic subunit to centrosomes, the RSA complex regulates a subset of PP2A functions in order to coordinate microtubule outgrowth from centrosomes and microtubule stability in the forming mitotic spindle.
doi:10.1016/j.cell.2006.10.050
PMCID: PMC2987564  PMID: 17218259

Results 1-25 (58)