Regulators of the actin cytoskeleton mediate lethality in a Caenorhabditis elegans dhc-1 mutant.
ABSTRACT: Functional analysis of cytoplasmic dynein in Caenorhabditis elegans has revealed a wide range of cellular functions for this minus-end-directed motor protein. Dynein transports a variety of cargos to diverse cellular locations, and thus cargo selection and destination are likely regulated by accessory proteins. The microtubule-associated proteins LIS-1 and dynein interact, but the nature of this interaction remains poorly understood. Here we show that both LIS-1 and the dynein heavy-chain DHC-1 are required for integrity of the actin cytoskeleton in C. elegans. Although both dhc-1(or195ts) and lis-1 loss-of-function disrupt the actin cytoskeleton and produce embryonic lethality, a double mutant suppresses these defects. A targeted RNA interference screen revealed that knockdown of other actin regulators, including actin-capping protein genes and prefoldin subunit genes, suppresses dhc-1(or195ts)-induced lethality. We propose that release or relocation of the mutant dynein complex mediates this suppression of dhc-1(or195ts)-induced phenotypes. These results reveal an unexpected direct or indirect interaction between the actin cytoskeleton and dynein activity.
Project description:Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) signaling is essential for animal development and increased signaling underlies many human cancers. Identifying the genes and cellular processes that regulate EGFR signaling in vivo will help elucidate how this pathway can become inappropriately activated. Caenorhabditis elegans vulva development provides an in vivo model to genetically dissect EGFR signaling. Here we identified a mutation in dhc-1, the heavy chain of the cytoplasmic dynein minus-end directed microtubule motor, in a genetic screen for regulators of EGFR signaling. Despite the many cellular functions of dynein, DHC-1 is a strong negative regulator of EGFR signaling during vulva induction. DHC-1 is required in the signal-receiving cell, genetically functions upstream or in parallel to LET-23 EGFR. LET-23 EGFR accumulates in cytoplasmic foci in dhc-1 mutants consistent with mammalian cell studies whereby dynein has been shown to regulate late endosome trafficking of EGFR with the Rab7 GTPase. However, we found different distributions of LET-23 EGFR foci in rab-7 versus dhc-1 mutants, suggesting that dynein functions at an earlier step of LET-23 EGFR trafficking to the lysosome than RAB-7. Our results demonstrate an in vivo role for dynein in limiting LET-23 EGFR signaling via endosomal trafficking.
Project description:Cytoplasmic dynein, a minus-end-directed microtubule motor, has been implicated in many cellular and developmental processes. Identification of specific cellular processes that rely directly on dynein would be facilitated by a means to induce specific and rapid inhibition of its function. We have identified conditional variants of a Caenorhabditis elegans dynein heavy chain (DHC-1) that lose function within a minute of a modest temperature upshift. Mutant embryos generated at elevated temperature show defects in centrosome separation, pronuclear migration, rotation of the centrosome/nucleus complex, bipolar spindle assembly, anaphase chromosome segregation, and cytokinesis. Our analyses of mutant embryos generated at permissive temperature and then upshifted quickly just before events of interest indicate that DHC-1 is required specifically for rotation of the centrosome/nucleus complex, for chromosome congression to a well ordered metaphase plate, and for timely initiation of anaphase. Our results do not support the view that DHC-1 is required for anaphase B separation of spindle poles and chromosomes. A P-loop mutation identified in two independent dominant temperature-sensitive alleles of dhc-1, when engineered into the DHC1 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, conferred a dominant temperature-sensitive dynein loss-of-function phenotype. This suggests that temperature-sensitive mutations can be created for time-resolved function analyses of dyneins and perhaps other P-loop proteins in a variety of model systems.
Project description:A close association must be maintained between the male pronucleus and the centrosomes during pronuclear migration. In C. elegans, simultaneous depletion of inner nuclear membrane LEM proteins EMR-1 and LEM-2, depletion of the nuclear lamina proteins LMN-1 or BAF-1, or the depletion of nuclear import components leads to embryonic lethality with small pronuclei. Here, a novel centrosome detachment phenotype in C. elegans zygotes is described. Zygotes with defects in the nuclear envelope had small pronuclei with a single centrosome detached from the male pronucleus. ZYG-12, SUN-1, and LIS-1, which function at the nuclear envelope with dynein to attach centrosomes, were observed at normal concentrations on the nuclear envelope of pronuclei with detached centrosomes. Analysis of time-lapse images showed that as mutant pronuclei grew in surface area, they captured detached centrosomes. Larger tetraploid or smaller histone::mCherry pronuclei suppressed or enhanced the centrosome detachment phenotype respectively. In embryos fertilized with anucleated sperm, only one centrosome was captured by small female pronuclei, suggesting the mechanism of capture is dependent on the surface area of the outer nuclear membrane available to interact with aster microtubules. We propose that the limiting factor for centrosome attachment to the surface of abnormally small pronuclei is dynein.
Project description:Abnormal axonal transport is associated with neuronal disease. We identified a role for DHC-1, the C. elegans dynein heavy chain, in maintaining neuronal cargo distribution. Surprisingly, this does not involve dynein's role as a retrograde motor in cargo transport, hinging instead on its ability to inhibit microtubule (MT) dynamics. Neuronal MTs are highly static, yet the mechanisms and functional significance of this property are not well understood. In disease-mimicking dhc-1 alleles, excessive MT growth and collapse occur at the dendrite tip, resulting in the formation of aberrant MT loops. These unstable MTs act as cargo traps, leading to ectopic accumulations of cargo and reduced availability of cargo at normal locations. Our data suggest that an anchored dynein pool interacts with plus-end-out MTs to stabilize MTs and allow efficient retrograde transport. These results identify functional significance for neuronal MT stability and suggest a mechanism for cellular dysfunction in dynein-linked disease.
Project description:In mitosis, the molecular motor dynein is recruited to kinetochores by the Rod-Zw10-Zwilch complex (RZZ) and Spindly to control spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) signaling and microtubule attachment. How the ubiquitous dynein co-factors Lis1 and NudE contribute to these functions remains poorly understood. Here, we show that the C. elegans NudE homolog NUD-2 is dispensable for dynein- and LIS-1-dependent mitotic spindle assembly in the zygote. This facilitates functional characterization of kinetochore-localized NUD-2, which is recruited by the CENP-F-like proteins HCP-1 and HCP-2 independently of RZZ-Spindly and dynein-LIS-1. Kinetochore dynein levels are reduced in ?nud-2 embryos, and, as occurs upon RZZ inhibition, loss of NUD-2 delays the formation of load-bearing kinetochore-microtubule attachments and causes chromatin bridges in anaphase. Survival of ?nud-2 embryos requires a functional SAC, and kinetochores without NUD-2 recruit an excess of SAC proteins. Consistent with this, SAC signaling in early ?nud-2 embryos extends mitotic duration and prevents high rates of chromosome mis-segregation. Our results reveal that both NUD-2 and RZZ-Spindly are essential for dynein function at kinetochores, and that the gain in SAC strength during early embryonic development is relevant under conditions that mildly perturb mitosis.
Project description:Apoptosis ensures removal of damaged cells and helps shape organs during development by removing excessive cells. To prevent the intracellular content of the apoptotic cells causing damage to surrounding cells, apoptotic cells are quickly cleared by engulfment. Tight regulation of apoptosis and engulfment is needed to prevent several pathologies such as cancer, neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases. There is increasing evidence that the engulfment machinery can regulate the execution of apoptosis. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. We show that dynein mediates cell non-autonomous cross-talk between the engulfment and apoptotic programs in the Caenorhabditis elegans germline. Dynein is an ATP-powered microtubule-based molecular motor, built from several subunits. Dynein has many diverse functions including transport of cargo around the cell. We show that both dynein light chain 1 (DLC-1) and dynein heavy chain 1 (DHC-1) localize to the nuclear membrane inside apoptotic germ cells in C. elegans. Strikingly, lack of either DLC-1 or DHC-1 at the nuclear membrane inhibits physiological apoptosis specifically in mutants defective in engulfment. This suggests that a cell fate determining dialogue takes place between engulfing somatic sheath cells and apoptotic germ cells. The underlying mechanism involves the core apoptotic protein CED-4/Apaf1, as we find that DLC-1 and the engulfment protein CED-6/GULP are required for the localization of CED-4 to the nuclear membrane of germ cells. A better understanding of the communication between the engulfment machinery and the apoptotic program is essential for identifying novel therapeutic targets in diseases caused by inappropriate engulfment or apoptosis.
Project description:Dynein, a microtubule motor complex, plays crucial roles in cell-cycle progression in many systems. The LIS1 accessory protein directly binds dynein, although its precise role in regulating dynein remains unclear. Mutation of human LIS1 causes lissencephaly, a developmental brain disorder. To gain insight into the in vivo functions of LIS1, we characterized a male-sterile allele of the Drosophila homolog of human LIS1. We found that centrosomes do not properly detach from the cell cortex at the onset of meiosis in most Lis-1 spermatocytes; centrosomes that do break cortical associations fail to attach to the nucleus. In Lis-1 spermatids, we observed loss of attachments between the nucleus, basal body and mitochondria. The localization pattern of LIS-1 protein throughout Drosophila spermatogenesis mirrors that of dynein. We show that dynein recruitment to the nuclear surface and spindle poles is severely reduced in Lis-1 male germ cells. We propose that Lis-1 spermatogenesis phenotypes are due to loss of dynein regulation, as we observed similar phenotypes in flies null for Tctex-1, a dynein light chain. We have previously identified asunder (asun) as another regulator of dynein localization and centrosome positioning during Drosophila spermatogenesis. We now report that Lis-1 is a strong dominant enhancer of asun and that localization of LIS-1 in male germ cells is ASUN dependent. We found that Drosophila LIS-1 and ASUN colocalize and coimmunoprecipitate from transfected cells, suggesting that they function within a common complex. We present a model in which Lis-1 and asun cooperate to regulate dynein localization and centrosome positioning during Drosophila spermatogenesis.
Project description:We analyzed the relatively poorly understood IFT-dynein (class DYNC2)-driven retrograde IFT pathway in C. elegans cilia, which yielded results that are surprising in the context of current models of IFT. Assays of C. elegans dynein gene expression and intraflagellar transport (IFT) suggest that conventional IFT-dynein contains essential heavy (CHE-3), light-intermediate (XBX-1), plus three light polypeptide chains that participate in IFT, but no "essential" intermediate chain. IFT assays of XBX-1::YFP suggest that IFT-dynein is transported as cargo to the distal tip of the cilium by kinesin-2 motors, but independent of the IFT-particle/BBSome complexes. Finally, we were surprised to find that the subset of cilia present on the OLQ (outer labial quadrant) neurons assemble independently of conventional "CHE-3" IFT-dynein, implying that there is a second IFT-dynein acting in these cilia. We have found a novel gene encoding a dynein heavy chain, DHC-3, and two light chains, in OLQ neurons, which could constitute an IFT-dynein complex in OLQ neuronal cilia. Our results underscore several surprising features of retrograde IFT that require clarification.
Project description:The genes encoding two Paramecium dynein heavy chains, DHC-6 and DHC-8, have been cloned and sequenced. Sequence-specific antibodies demonstrate that DHC-6 encodes ciliary outer arm beta-chain and DHC-8 encodes a cytoplasmic dynein heavy chain. Therefore, this study is the first opportunity to compare the primary structures and expression of two heavy chains representing the two functional classes of dynein expressed in the same cell. Deciliation of paramecia results in the accumulation of mRNA from DHC-6, but not DHC-8. Nuclear run-on transcription experiments demonstrate that this increase in the steady state concentration of DHC-6 mRNA is a consequence of a rapid induction of transcription in response to deciliation. This is the first demonstration that dynein, like other axonemal components, is transcriptionally regulated during reciliation. Analyses of the sequences of the two Paramecium dyneins and the dynein heavy chains from other organisms indicate that the heavy chain can be divided into three regions: 1) the sequence of the central catalytic domain is conserved among all dyneins; 2) the tail domain sequence, consisting of the N-terminal 1200 residues, differentiates between axonemal and cytoplasmic dyneins; and 3) the N-terminal 200 residues are the most divergent and appear to classify the isoforms. The organization of the heavy chain predicts that the variable tail domain may be sufficient to target the dynein to the appropriate place in the cell.
Project description:To correlate dynein heavy chain (Dhc) genes with flagellar mutations and gain insight into the function of specific dynein isoforms, we placed eight members of the Dhc gene family on the genetic map of Chlamydomonas. Using a PCR-based strategy, we cloned 11 Dhc genes from Chlamydomonas. Comparisons with other Dhc genes indicate that two clones correspond to genes encoding the alpha and beta heavy chains of the outer dynein arm. Alignment of the predicted amino acid sequences spanning the nucleotide binding site indicates that the remaining nine clones can be subdivided into three groups that are likely to include representatives of the inner-arm Dhc isoforms. Gene-specific probes reveal that each clone represents a single-copy gene that is expressed as a transcript of the appropriate size (> 13 kb) sufficient to encode a high molecular weight Dhc polypeptide. The expression of all nine genes is upregulated in response to deflagellation, suggesting a role in axoneme assembly or motility. Restriction fragment length polymorphisms between divergent C. reinhardtii strains have been used to place each Dhc gene on the genetic map of Chlamydomonas. These studies lay the groundwork for correlating defects in different Dhc genes with specific flagellar mutations.