Inhibitory phosphorylation of separase is essential for genome stability and viability of murine embryonic germ cells.
ABSTRACT: Activity of separase, a cysteine protease that cleaves sister chromatid cohesin at the onset of anaphase, is tightly regulated to ensure faithful chromosome segregation and genome stability. Two mechanisms negatively regulate separase: inhibition by securin and phosphorylation on serine 1121. To gauge the physiological significance of the inhibitory phosphorylation, we created a mouse strain in which Ser1121 was mutated to Ala (S1121A). Here we report that this S1121A point mutation causes infertility in mice. We show that germ cells in the mutants are depleted during development. We further demonstrate that S1121A causes chromosome misalignment during proliferation of the postmigratory primordial germ cells, resulting in mitotic arrest, aneuploidy, and eventual cell death. Our results indicate that inhibitory phosphorylation of separase plays a critical role in the maintenance of sister chromatid cohesion and genome stability in proliferating postmigratory primordial germ cells.
Project description:The universal triggering event of eukaryotic chromosome segregation is cleavage of centromeric cohesin by separase. Prior to anaphase, most separase is kept inactive by association with securin. Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) constitutes another binding partner of human separase, but the functional relevance of this interaction has remained enigmatic. We demonstrate that PP2A stabilizes separase-associated securin by dephosphorylation, while phosphorylation of free securin enhances its polyubiquitylation by the ubiquitin ligase APC/C and proteasomal degradation. Changing PP2A substrate phosphorylation sites to alanines slows degradation of free securin, delays separase activation, lengthens early anaphase, and results in anaphase bridges and DNA damage. In contrast, separase-associated securin is destabilized by introduction of phosphorylation-mimetic aspartates or extinction of separase-associated PP2A activity. G2- or prometaphase-arrested cells suffer from unscheduled activation of separase when endogenous securin is replaced by aspartate-mutant securin. Thus, PP2A-dependent stabilization of separase-associated securin prevents precocious activation of separase during checkpoint-mediated arrests with basal APC/C activity and increases the abruptness and fidelity of sister chromatid separation in anaphase.
Project description:Drosophila PIM and THR are required for sister chromatid separation in mitosis and associate in vivo. Neither of these two proteins shares significant sequence similarity with known proteins. However, PIM has functional similarities with securin proteins. Like securin, PIM is degraded at the metaphase-to-anaphase transition and this degradation is required for sister chromatid separation. Securin binds and inhibits separase, a conserved cysteine endoprotease. Proteolysis of securin at the metaphase-to-anaphase transition activates separase, which degrades a conserved cohesin subunit, thereby allowing sister chromatid separation. To address whether PIM regulates separase activity or functions with THR in a distinct pathway, we have characterized a Drosophila separase homolog (SSE). SSE is an unusual member of the separase family. SSE is only about one-third the size of other separases and has a diverged endoprotease domain. However, our genetic analyses show that SSE is essential and required for sister chromatid separation during mitosis. Moreover, we show that SSE associates with both PIM and THR. Although our work shows that separase is required for sister chromatid separation in higher eukaryotes, in addition, it also indicates that the regulatory proteins have diverged to a surprising degree, particularly in Drosophila.
Project description:Sister chromatid separation depends on the activity of separase, which in turn requires the proteolysis of its inhibitor, securin. It has been speculated that securin also supports the activation of separase. In this study, we found that PTTG1 was the major securin isoform expressed in most normal and cancer cell lines. Remarkably, a highly homologous isoform called PTTG2 was unable to interact with separase. Using chimeras between PTTG1 and PTTG2 and other approaches, we pinpointed a single amino acid that accounted for the loss of securin function in PTTG2. Mutation of the homologous position in PTTG1 (H(134)) switched PTTG1 from an inhibitor into an activator of separase. In agreement with this, PTTG1 lacking H(134) was able to trigger premature sister chromatid separation. Conversely, introduction of H(134) into PTTG2 is sufficient to allow it to bind separase. These data demonstrate that while the motif containing H(134) has a strong affinity for separase and is involved in inhibiting it, another domain(s) is involved in activating separase and has a weaker affinity for it. Although PTTG2 lacks securin function, its differences from PTTG1 provide evidence of independent inhibitory and activating functions of PTTG1 on separase.
Project description:Anaphase onset is an irreversible cell cycle transition that is triggered by the activation of the protease Separase. Separase cleaves the Mcd1 (also known as Scc1) subunit of Cohesin, a complex of proteins that physically links sister chromatids, triggering sister chromatid separation. Separase is regulated by the degradation of the anaphase inhibitor Securin which liberates Separase from inhibitory Securin/Separase complexes. In many organisms, Securin is not essential suggesting that Separase is regulated by additional mechanisms. In this work, we show that in budding yeast Cdk1 activates Separase (Esp1 in yeast) through phosphorylation to trigger anaphase onset. Esp1 activation is opposed by protein phosphatase 2A associated with its regulatory subunit Cdc55 (PP2ACdc55) and the spindle protein Slk19. Premature anaphase spindle elongation occurs when Securin (Pds1 in yeast) is inducibly degraded in cells that also contain phospho-mimetic mutations in ESP1, or deletion of CDC55 or SLK19. This striking phenotype is accompanied by advanced degradation of Mcd1, disruption of pericentric Cohesin organization and chromosome mis-segregation. Our findings suggest that PP2ACdc55 and Slk19 function redundantly with Pds1 to inhibit Esp1 within pericentric chromatin, and both Pds1 degradation and Cdk1-dependent phosphorylation of Esp1 act together to trigger anaphase onset.
Project description:Separase is a protease that triggers chromosome segregation at anaphase onset by cleaving cohesin, the chromosomal protein complex responsible for sister chromatid cohesion. After anaphase, cells exit from mitosis; that is, they complete downregulation of cyclin-dependent kinase activity, undergo cytokinesis and enter G1 of the next cell cycle. Here we show that separase activation at the onset of anaphase is sufficient to promote release from the nucleolus and activation of the budding yeast phosphatase, Cdc14, a key step in mitotic exit. The ability of separase to activate Cdc14 is independent of its protease function but may involve promoting phosphorylation of the Cdc14 inhibitor Net1. This novel separase function is coregulated with its proteolytic activity by the separase inhibitor securin. This helps to explain the coupling of anaphase and mitotic exit--after securin degradation at anaphase onset, separase cleaves cohesin to trigger chromosome segregation and concurrently uses a non-proteolytic mechanism to initiate mitotic exit.
Project description:The protease separase plays a key role in sister chromatid disjunction and centriole disengagement. To maintain genomic stability, separase activity is strictly regulated by binding of an inhibitory protein, securin. Despite its central role in cell division, the separase and securin complex is poorly understood at the structural level. This is partly owing to the difficulty of generating a sufficient quantity of homogeneous, stable protein. Here, we report the production of Caenorhabditis elegans separase-securin complex, and its characterization using biochemical methods and by negative staining electron microscopy. Single particle analysis generated a density map at a resolution of 21-24 Å that reveals a close, globular structure of complex connectivity harbouring two lobes. One lobe matches closely a homology model of the N-terminal HEAT repeat domain of separase, whereas the second lobe readily accommodates homology models of the separase C-terminal death and caspase-like domains. The globular structure of the C. elegans separase-securin complex contrasts with the more elongated structure previously described for the Homo sapiens complex, which could represent a different functional state of the complex, suggesting a mechanism for the regulation of separase activity through conformational change.
Project description:To ensure equal chromosome segregation and the stability of the genome during cell division, Separase is strictly regulated primarily by Securin binding and inhibitory phosphorylation. By generating a mouse model that contained a mutation to the inhibitory phosphosite of Separase, we demonstrated that mice of both sexes are infertile. We showed that Separase deregulation leads to chromosome mis-segregation, genome instability, and eventually apoptosis of primordial germ cells (PGCs) during embryonic oogenesis. Although the PGCs of mutant male mice were completely depleted, a population of PGCs from mutant females survived Separase deregulation. The surviving PGCs completed oogenesis but produced deficient initial follicles. These results indicate a sexual dimorphism effect on PGCs from Separase deregulation, which may be correlated with a gender-specific discrepancy of Securin. Our results reveal that Separase phospho-regulation is critical for genome stability in oogenesis. Furthermore, we provided the first evidence of a pre-zygotic mitotic chromosome segregation error resulting from Separase deregulation, whose sex-specific differences may be a reason for the sexual dimorphism of aneuploidy in gametogenesis.
Project description:At the onset of anaphase, sister-chromatid cohesion is dissolved abruptly and irreversibly, ensuring that all chromosome pairs disjoin almost simultaneously. The regulatory mechanisms that generate this switch-like behaviour are unclear. Anaphase is initiated when a ubiquitin ligase, the anaphase-promoting complex (APC), triggers the destruction of securin, thereby allowing separase, a protease, to disrupt sister-chromatid cohesion. Here we demonstrate that the cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (Cdk1)-dependent phosphorylation of securin near its destruction-box motif inhibits securin ubiquitination by the APC. The phosphatase Cdc14 reverses securin phosphorylation, thereby increasing the rate of securin ubiquitination. Because separase is known to activate Cdc14 (refs 5 and 6), our results support the existence of a positive feedback loop that increases the abruptness of anaphase. Consistent with this model, we show that mutations that disrupt securin phosphoregulation decrease the synchrony of chromosome segregation. Our results also suggest that coupling securin degradation with changes in Cdk1 and Cdc14 activities helps coordinate the initiation of sister-chromatid separation with changes in spindle dynamics.
Project description:Separase is a caspase-family protease that initiates chromatid segregation by cleaving the kleisin subunits (Scc1 and Rec8) of cohesin, and regulates centrosome duplication and mitotic spindle function through cleavage of kendrin and Slk19. To understand the mechanisms of securin regulation of separase, we used single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to determine a near-atomic-resolution structure of the Caenorhabditis elegans separase-securin complex. Separase adopts a triangular-shaped bilobal architecture comprising an N-terminal tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR)-like ?-solenoid domain docked onto the conserved C-terminal protease domain. Securin engages separase in an extended antiparallel conformation, interacting with both lobes. It inhibits separase by interacting with the catalytic site through a pseudosubstrate mechanism, thus revealing that in the inhibited separase-securin complex, the catalytic site adopts a conformation compatible with substrate binding. Securin is protected from cleavage because an aliphatic side chain at the P1 position represses protease activity by disrupting the organization of catalytic site residues.
Project description:Sister chromatid attachment during meiosis II (MII) is maintained by securin-mediated inhibition of separase. In maternal ageing, oocytes show increased inter-sister kinetochore distance and premature sister chromatid separation (PSCS), suggesting aberrant separase activity. Here, we find that MII oocytes from aged mice have less securin than oocytes from young mice and that this reduction is mediated by increased destruction by the anaphase promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) during meiosis I (MI) exit. Inhibition of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) kinase, Mps1, during MI exit in young oocytes replicates this phenotype. Further, over-expression of securin or Mps1 protects against the age-related increase in inter-sister kinetochore distance and PSCS. These findings show that maternal ageing compromises the oocyte SAC-APC/C axis leading to a decrease in securin that ultimately causes sister chromatid cohesion loss. Manipulating this axis and/or increasing securin may provide novel therapeutic approaches to alleviating the risk of oocyte aneuploidy in maternal ageing.