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1.  Divergent regulation of functionally distinct γ-tubulin complexes during differentiation 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2016;213(6):679-692.
Differentiation induces loss of centrosomal microtubule organizing activity in many cell types, though the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Using the epidermis, Muroyama et al. show that cell cycle exit causes loss of a Nedd1–γ-tubulin complex, which is required for anchoring microtubules at the centrosome. This defines a novel function for γ-tubulin complexes in microtubule anchoring at the centrosome.
Differentiation induces the formation of noncentrosomal microtubule arrays in diverse tissues. The formation of these arrays requires loss of microtubule-organizing activity (MTOC) at the centrosome, but the mechanisms regulating this transition remain largely unexplored. Here, we use the robust loss of centrosomal MTOC activity in the epidermis to identify two pools of γ-tubulin that are biochemically and functionally distinct and differentially regulated. Nucleation-competent CDK5RAP2–γ-tubulin complexes were maintained at centrosomes upon initial epidermal differentiation. In contrast, Nedd1–γ-tubulin complexes did not promote nucleation but were required for anchoring of microtubules, a previously uncharacterized activity for this complex. Cell cycle exit specifically triggered loss of Nedd1–γ-tubulin complexes, providing a mechanistic link connecting MTOC activity and differentiation. Collectively, our studies demonstrate that distinct γ-tubulin complexes regulate different microtubule behaviors at the centrosome and show that differential regulation of these complexes drives loss of centrosomal MTOC activity.
PMCID: PMC4915192  PMID: 27298324
2.  NuMA-microtubule interactions are critical for spindle orientation and the morphogenesis of diverse epidermal structures 
eLife  null;5:e12504.
Mitotic spindle orientation is used to generate cell fate diversity and drive proper tissue morphogenesis. A complex of NuMA and dynein/dynactin is required for robust spindle orientation in a number of cell types. Previous research proposed that cortical dynein/dynactin was sufficient to generate forces on astral microtubules (MTs) to orient the spindle, with NuMA acting as a passive tether. In this study, we demonstrate that dynein/dynactin is insufficient for spindle orientation establishment in keratinocytes and that NuMA’s MT-binding domain, which targets MT tips, is also required. Loss of NuMA-MT interactions in skin caused defects in spindle orientation and epidermal differentiation, leading to neonatal lethality. In addition, we show that NuMA-MT interactions are also required in adult mice for hair follicle morphogenesis and spindle orientation within the transit-amplifying cells of the matrix. Loss of spindle orientation in matrix cells results in defective differentiation of matrix-derived lineages. Our results reveal an additional and direct function of NuMA during mitotic spindle positioning, as well as a reiterative use of spindle orientation in the skin to build diverse structures.
eLife digest
Before a cell divides, it must duplicate its DNA so that each new cell receives a complete set of genetic material. A structure called the mitotic spindle helps to ensure each new cell gets the correct amount of DNA. Cells often precisely position their mitotic spindle during division, and this spindle orientation is important for generating different types of cells and for establishing the three-dimensional structure of tissues. How cells rotate their spindles into the correct position is not well understood, but a protein called NuMA is important for this process.
Seldin et al. developed genetic tools that could disrupt spindle orientation in specific types of cells to determine where this orientation is important for proper tissue development. This revealed that the correct placement of the mitotic spindle is important for the development of the skin of mouse embryos and the formation of the hair of adult mice. Seldin et al. also found that the NuMA protein binds to the tips of the microtubules that make up the mitotic spindle. This binding activity is important for NuMA to be able to position the mitotic spindle correctly in the cell. The findings suggest similarities between how cells orient mitotic spindles and how they segregate DNA during cell division.
More work is now needed to better understand how NuMA collaborates with force-generating molecular motors to precisely orient the mitotic spindle in the cell. In addition, understanding how spindle orientation dictates the fate of cells in the skin is an important future goal.
PMCID: PMC4758947  PMID: 26765568
asymmetric cell division; spindle orientation; NuMA; skin; Mouse
3.  Separase Cleaves the N-Tail of the CENP-A Related Protein CPAR-1 at the Meiosis I Metaphase-Anaphase Transition in C. elegans 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0125382.
Centromeres are defined epigenetically in the majority of eukaryotes by the presence of chromatin containing the centromeric histone H3 variant CENP-A. Most species have a single gene encoding a centromeric histone variant whereas C. elegans has two: HCP-3 (also known as CeCENP-A) and CPAR-1. Prior RNAi replacement experiments showed that HCP-3 is the functionally dominant isoform, consistent with CPAR-1 not being detectable in embryos. GFP::CPAR-1 is loaded onto meiotic chromosomes in diakinesis and is enriched on bivalents until meiosis I. Here we show that GFP::CPAR-1 signal loss from chromosomes precisely coincides with homolog segregation during anaphase I. This loss of GFP::CPAR-1 signal reflects proteolytic cleavage between GFP and the histone fold of CPAR-1, as CPAR-1::GFP, in which GFP is fused to the C-terminus of CPAR-1, does not exhibit any loss of GFP signal. A focused candidate screen implicated separase, the protease that initiates anaphase by cleaving the kleisin subunit of cohesin, in this cleavage reaction. Examination of the N-terminal tail sequence of CPAR-1 revealed a putative separase cleavage site and mutation of the signature residues in this site eliminated the cleavage reaction, as visualized by retention of GFP::CPAR-1 signal on separating homologous chromosomes at the metaphase-anaphase transition of meiosis I. Neither cleaved nor uncleavable CPAR-1 were centromere-localized in mitosis and instead localized throughout chromatin, indicating that centromere activity has not been retained in CPAR-1. Although the functions of CPAR-1 and of its separase-dependent cleavage remain to be elucidated, this effort reveals a new substrate of separase and provides an in vivo biosensor to monitor separase activity at the onset of meiosis I anaphase.
PMCID: PMC4412405  PMID: 25919583
4.  Polarity and Stratification of the Epidermis 
Polarity is a fundamental property of epithelial cells. In this review, we discuss our current knowledge of the polarity of a stratified epithelium, the epidermis, focusing on similarities and differences with simple epithelial models. We highlight how the differences in tissue architecture and physiology result in alterations in some aspects of cell polarity. In addition, we discuss one of the most prominent uses for cell polarity in the epidermis – orienting the mitotic spindle to drive the stratification and differentiation of this tissue during development.
PMCID: PMC3549552  PMID: 22960184
5.  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.
PMCID: PMC3538161  PMID: 22495302
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.
PMCID: PMC3142569  PMID: 21177976

Results 1-6 (6)