Evaluating putative mechanisms of the mitotic spindle checkpoint.
ABSTRACT: The mitotic spindle checkpoint halts the cell cycle until all chromosomes are attached to the mitotic spindles. Evidence suggests that the checkpoint prevents cell-cycle progression by inhibiting the activity of the APC-Cdc20 complex, but the precise mechanism underlying this inhibition is not yet known. Here, we use mathematical modeling to compare several mechanisms that could account for this inhibition. We describe the interplay between the capacities to strongly inhibit cell-cycle progression before spindle attachment on one hand and to rapidly resume cell-cycle progression once the last kinetochore is attached on the other hand. We find that inhibition that is restricted to the kinetochore region is not sufficient for supporting both requirements when realistic diffusion constants are considered. A mechanism that amplifies the checkpoint signal through autocatalyzed inhibition is also insufficient. In contrast, amplifying the signal through the release of a diffusible inhibitory complex can support reliable checkpoint function. Our results suggest that the design of the spindle checkpoint network is limited by physical constraints imposed by realistic diffusion constants and the relevant spatial and temporal dimensions where computation is performed.
Project description:The spindle assembly checkpoint arrests mitotic progression until each kinetochore secures a stable attachment to the spindle. Despite fluctuating noise, this checkpoint remains robust and remarkably sensitive to even a single unattached kinetochore among many attached kinetochores; moreover, the checkpoint is silenced only after the final kinetochore-spindle attachment. Experimental observations have shown that checkpoint components stream from attached kinetochores along microtubules towards spindle poles. Here we incorporate this streaming behaviour into a theoretical model that accounts for the robustness of checkpoint silencing. Poleward streams are integrated at spindle poles, but are diverted by any unattached kinetochore; consequently, accumulation of checkpoint components at spindle poles increases markedly only when every kinetochore is properly attached. This step change robustly triggers checkpoint silencing after, and only after, the final kinetochore-spindle attachment. Our model offers a conceptual framework that highlights the role of spatiotemporal regulation in mitotic spindle checkpoint signalling and fidelity of chromosome segregation.
Project description:The mitotic checkpoint ensures correct chromosome segregation by delaying cell cycle progression until all kinetochores have attached to the mitotic spindle. In this paper, we show that the mitotic checkpoint kinase MPS1 contains an N-terminal localization module, organized in an N-terminal extension (NTE) and a tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domain, for which we have determined the crystal structure. Although the module was necessary for kinetochore localization of MPS1 and essential for the mitotic checkpoint, the predominant kinetochore binding activity resided within the NTE. MPS1 localization further required HEC1 and Aurora B activity. We show that MPS1 localization to kinetochores depended on the calponin homology domain of HEC1 but not on Aurora B-dependent phosphorylation of the HEC1 tail. Rather, the TPR domain was the critical mediator of Aurora B control over MPS1 localization, as its deletion rendered MPS1 localization insensitive to Aurora B inhibition. These data are consistent with a model in which Aurora B activity relieves a TPR-dependent inhibitory constraint on MPS1 localization.
Project description:The spindle checkpoint inhibits the metaphase to anaphase transition until all the chromosomes are properly attached to the mitotic spindle. We have isolated a Xenopus homologue of the spindle checkpoint component Bub1, and investigated its role in the spindle checkpoint in Xenopus egg extracts. Antibodies raised against Bub1 recognize a 150-kD phosphoprotein at both interphase and mitosis, but the molecular mass is reduced to 140 upon dephosphorylation in vitro. Bub1 is essential for the establishment and maintenance of the checkpoint and is localized to kinetochores, similar to the spindle checkpoint complex Mad1-Mad2. However, Bub1 differs from Mad1-Mad2 in that Bub1 remains on kinetochores that have attached to microtubules; the protein eventually dissociates from the kinetochore during anaphase. Immunodepletion of Bub1 abolishes the spindle checkpoint and the kinetochore binding of the checkpoint proteins Mad1, Mad2, Bub3, and CENP-E. Interestingly, reintroducing either wild-type or kinase-deficient Bub1 protein restores the checkpoint and the kinetochore localization of these proteins. Our studies demonstrate that Bub1 plays a central role in triggering the spindle checkpoint signal from the kinetochore, and that its kinase activity is not necessary for the spindle checkpoint in Xenopus egg extracts.
Project description:Identification of proteins that couple kinetochores to spindle microtubules is critical for understanding how accurate chromosome segregation is achieved in mitosis. Here we show that the protein hNuf2 specifically functions at kinetochores for stable microtubule attachment in HeLa cells. When hNuf2 is depleted by RNA interference, spindle formation occurs normally as cells enter mitosis, but kinetochores fail to form their attachments to spindle microtubules and cells block in prometaphase with an active spindle checkpoint. Kinetochores depleted of hNuf2 retain the microtubule motors CENP-E and cytoplasmic dynein, proteins previously implicated in recruiting kinetochore microtubules. Kinetochores also retain detectable levels of the spindle checkpoint proteins Mad2 and BubR1, as expected for activation of the spindle checkpoint by unattached kinetochores. In addition, the cell cycle block produced by hNuf2 depletion induces mitotic cells to undergo cell death. These data highlight a specific role for hNuf2 in kinetochore-microtubule attachment and suggest that hNuf2 is part of a molecular linker between the kinetochore attachment site and tubulin subunits within the lattice of attached plus ends.
Project description:Kinetochores attach chromosomes to the spindle microtubules and signal the spindle assembly checkpoint to delay mitotic exit until all chromosomes are attached. Light microscopy approaches aimed to indirectly determine distances between various proteins within the kinetochore (termed Delta) suggest that kinetochores become stretched by spindle forces and compact elastically when the force is suppressed. Low Delta is believed to arrest mitotic progression in taxol-treated cells. However, the structural basis of Delta remains unknown. By integrating same-kinetochore light microscopy and electron microscopy, we demonstrate that the value of Delta is affected by the variability in the shape and size of outer kinetochore domains. The outer kinetochore compacts when spindle forces are maximal during metaphase. When the forces are weakened by taxol treatment, the outer kinetochore expands radially and some kinetochores completely lose microtubule attachment, a condition known to arrest mitotic progression. These observations offer an alternative interpretation of intrakinetochore tension and question whether Delta plays a direct role in the control of mitotic progression.
Project description:The spindle checkpoint is a surveillance system acting in mitosis to delay anaphase onset until all chromosomes are properly attached to the mitotic spindle. When the checkpoint is activated, the Mad2 and Mad3 proteins directly bind and inhibit Cdc20, which is an essential activator of an E3 ubiquitin ligase known as the anaphase-promoting complex (APC). When the checkpoint is satisfied, Cdc20-APC is activated and polyubiquitinates securin and cyclin, leading to the dissolution of sister chromatid cohesion and mitotic progression. Several protein kinases play critical roles in spindle checkpoint signaling, but the mechanism (or mechanisms) by which they inhibit mitotic progression remains unclear. Furthermore, it is not known whether their activity needs to be reversed by protein phosphatases before anaphase onset can occur. Here we employ fission yeast to show that Aurora (Ark1) kinase activity is directly required to maintain spindle checkpoint arrest, even in the presence of many unattached kinetochores. Upon Ark1 inhibition, checkpoint complexes are disassembled and cyclin B is rapidly degraded. Importantly, checkpoint silencing and cyclin B degradation require the kinetochore-localized isoform of protein phosphatase 1 (PP1(Dis2)). We propose that PP1(Dis2)-mediated dephosphorylation of checkpoint components forms a novel spindle checkpoint silencing mechanism.
Project description:Maintenance of genomic stability during eukaryotic cell division relies on the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) that prevents mitotic exit until all chromosomes are properly attached to the spindle. Polo is a mitotic kinase proposed to be involved in SAC function, but its role has remained elusive. We demonstrate that Polo and Aurora B functional interdependency comprises a positive feedback loop that promotes Mps1 kinetochore localization and activity. Expression of constitutively active Polo restores normal Mps1 kinetochore levels even after Aurora B inhibition, highlighting a role for Polo in Mps1 recruitment to unattached kinetochores downstream of Aurora B. We also show that Mps1 kinetochore localization is required for BubR1 hyperphosphorylation and formation of the 3F3/2 phosphoepitope. This is essential to allow recruitment of Cdc20 to unattached kinetochores and the assembly of anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome-inhibitory complexes to levels that ensure long-term SAC activity. We propose a model in which Polo controls Mps1-dependent BubR1 phosphorylation to promote Cdc20 kinetochore recruitment and sustained SAC function.
Project description:In mitotic cells, an error in chromosome segregation occurs when a chromosome is left near the spindle equator after anaphase onset (lagging chromosome). In PtK1 cells, we found 1.16% of untreated anaphase cells exhibiting lagging chromosomes at the spindle equator, and this percentage was enhanced to 17.55% after a mitotic block with 2 microM nocodazole. A lagging chromosome seen during anaphase in control or nocodazole-treated cells was found by confocal immunofluorescence microscopy to be a single chromatid with its kinetochore attached to kinetochore microtubule bundles extending toward opposite poles. This merotelic orientation was verified by electron microscopy. The single kinetochores of lagging chromosomes in anaphase were stretched laterally (1.2--5.6-fold) in the directions of their kinetochore microtubules, indicating that they were not able to achieve anaphase poleward movement because of pulling forces toward opposite poles. They also had inactivated mitotic spindle checkpoint activities since they did not label with either Mad2 or 3F3/2 antibodies. Thus, for mammalian cultured cells, kinetochore merotelic orientation is a major mechanism of aneuploidy not detected by the mitotic spindle checkpoint. The expanded and curved crescent morphology exhibited by kinetochores during nocodazole treatment may promote the high incidence of kinetochore merotelic orientation that occurs after nocodazole washout.
Project description:Fidelity of chromosome segregation is ensured by a tension-dependent error correction system that prevents stabilization of incorrect chromosome-microtubule attachments. Unattached or incorrectly attached chromosomes also activate the spindle assembly checkpoint, thus delaying mitotic exit until all chromosomes are bioriented. The Aurora B kinase is widely recognized as a component of error correction. Conversely, its role in the checkpoint is controversial. Here, we report an analysis of the role of Aurora B in the spindle checkpoint under conditions believed to uncouple the effects of Aurora B inhibition on the checkpoint from those on error correction. Partial inhibition of several checkpoint and kinetochore components, including Mps1 and Ndc80, strongly synergizes with inhibition of Aurora B activity and dramatically affects the ability of cells to arrest in mitosis in the presence of spindle poisons. Thus, Aurora B might contribute to spindle checkpoint signalling independently of error correction. Our results support a model in which Aurora B is at the apex of a signalling pyramid whose sensory apparatus promotes the concomitant activation of error correction and checkpoint signalling pathways.
Project description:The spindle assembly checkpoint inhibits anaphase until all chromosomes have become attached to the mitotic spindle. A complex between the checkpoint proteins Mad1 and Mad2 provides a platform for Mad2:Mad2 dimerization at unattached kinetochores, which enables Mad2 to delay anaphase. Here, we show that mutations in Bub1 and within the Mad1 C-terminal domain impair the kinetochore localization of Mad1:Mad2 and abrogate checkpoint activity. Artificial kinetochore recruitment of Mad1 in these mutants co-recruits Mad2; however, the checkpoint remains non-functional. We identify specific mutations within the C-terminal head of Mad1 that impair checkpoint activity without affecting the kinetochore localization of Bub1, Mad1 or Mad2. Hence, Mad1 potentially in conjunction with Bub1 has a crucial role in checkpoint signalling in addition to presenting Mad2.