Seeing is believing: our evolving view of kinetochore structure, composition, and assembly.
ABSTRACT: This review highlights three recent trends in the field of kinetochore biology: the proliferation of structural data for kinetochore protein complexes (including CBF3, Dam1c, Mis12cMIND, and CENP-NLChl4/Iml3); the growing consensus that the kinetochore is a dynamic structure whose composition changes as the cell cycle progresses; and the mounting evidence of multiple pathways whereby the microtubule-binding elements of the outer kinetochore may be recruited by inner kinetochore proteins. Our focus is on the two best-studied systems in the field: human and budding yeast kinetochores. This review will demonstrate the remarkable similarity of these two systems, as well as their intriguing differences.
Project description:We have identified a 350-amino acid domain in the kinetochore motor CENP-E that specifies kinetochore binding in mitosis but not during interphase. The kinetochore binding domain was used in a yeast two-hybrid screen to isolate interacting proteins that included the kinetochore proteins CENP-E, CENP-F, and hBUBR1, a BUB1-related kinase that was found to be mutated in some colorectal carcinomas (Cahill, D.P., C. Lengauer, J. Yu, G.J. Riggins, J.K. Wilson, S.D. Markowitz, K.W. Kinzler, and B. Vogelstein. 1998. Nature. 392:300-303). CENP-F, hBUBR1, and CENP-E assembled onto kinetochores in sequential order during late stages of the cell cycle. These proteins therefore define discrete steps along the kinetochore assembly pathway. Kinetochores of unaligned chromosome exhibited stronger hBUBR1 and CENP-E staining than those of aligned chromosomes. CENP-E and hBUBR1 remain colocalized at kinetochores until mid-anaphase when hBUBR1 localized to portions of the spindle midzone that did not overlap with CENP-E. As CENP-E and hBUBR1 can coimmunoprecipitate with each other from HeLa cells, they may function as a motor-kinase complex at kinetochores. However, the complex distribution pattern of hBUBR1 suggests that it may regulate multiple functions that include the kinetochore and the spindle midzone.
Project description:Outer kinetochore assembly enables chromosome attachment to microtubules and spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) signaling in mitosis. Aurora B kinase controls kinetochore assembly by phosphorylating the Mis12 complex (Mis12C) subunit Dsn1. Current models propose Dsn1 phosphorylation relieves autoinhibition, allowing Mis12C binding to inner kinetochore component CENP-C. Using Xenopus laevis egg extracts and biochemical reconstitution, we found that autoinhibition of the Mis12C by Dsn1 impedes its phosphorylation by Aurora B. Our data indicate that the INCENP central region increases Dsn1 phosphorylation by enriching Aurora B at inner kinetochores, close to CENP-C. Furthermore, centromere-bound CENP-C does not exchange in mitosis, and CENP-C binding to the Mis12C dramatically increases Dsn1 phosphorylation by Aurora B. We propose that the coincidence of Aurora B and CENP-C at inner kinetochores ensures the fidelity of kinetochore assembly. We also found that the central region is required for the SAC beyond its role in kinetochore assembly, suggesting that kinetochore enrichment of Aurora B promotes the phosphorylation of other kinetochore substrates.
Project description:A longstanding question in centromere biology has been the organization of CENP-A-containing chromatin and its implications for kinetochore assembly. Here, we have combined genetic manipulations with deconvolution and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy for a detailed structural analysis of chicken kinetochores. Using fluorescence microscopy with subdiffraction spatial resolution and single molecule sensitivity to map protein localization in kinetochore chromatin unfolded by exposure to a low salt buffer, we observed robust amounts of H3K9me3, but only low levels of H3K4me2, between CENP-A subdomains in unfolded interphase prekinetochores. Constitutive centromere-associated network proteins CENP-C and CENP-H localize within CENP-A-rich subdomains (presumably on H3-containing nucleosomes) whereas CENP-T localizes in interspersed H3-rich blocks. Although interphase prekinetochores are relatively more resistant to unfolding than sur-rounding pericentromeric heterochromatin, mitotic kinetochores are significantly more stable, reflecting mitotic kinetochore maturation. Loss of CENP-H, CENP-N, or CENP-W had little or no effect on the unfolding of mitotic kinetochores. However, loss of CENP-C caused mitotic kinetochores to unfold to the same extent as their interphase counterparts. Based on our results we propose a new model for inner centromeric chromatin architecture in which chromatin is folded as a layered boustrophedon, with planar sinusoids containing interspersed CENP-A-rich and H3-rich subdomains oriented toward the outer kinetochore. In mitosis, a CENP-C-dependent mechanism crosslinks CENP-A blocks of different layers together, conferring extra stability to the kinetochore.
Project description:Kinetochores are composed of a large number of protein complexes that must be properly assembled on DNA to attach chromosomes to the mitotic spindle and to coordinate their segregation with the advance of the cell cycle. CBF3 is an inner kinetochore complex in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae that nucleates the recruitment of all other kinetochore proteins to centromeric DNA. Skp1p and Sgt1p act through the core CBF3 subunit, Ctf13p, and are required for CBF3 to associate with centromeric DNA. To investigate the contribution of Skp1p and Sgt1p to CBF3 function, we have used a combination of in vitro binding assays and a unique protocol for synchronizing the assembly of kinetochores in cells. We have found that the interaction between Skp1p and Sgt1p is critical for the assembly of CBF3 complexes. CBF3 assembly is not restricted during the cell cycle and occurs in discrete steps; Skp1p and Sgt1p contribute to a final, rate-limiting step in assembly, the binding of the core CBF3 subunit Ctf13p to Ndc10p. The assembly of CBF3 is opposed by its turnover and disruption of this balance compromises kinetochore function without affecting kinetochore formation on centromeric DNA.
Project description:CENP-A acts as an important epigenetic marker for kinetochore specification. However, the mechanisms by which CENP-A is incorporated into centromeres and the structural basis for kinetochore formation downstream of CENP-A remain unclear. Here, we used a unique chromosome-engineering system in which kinetochore proteins are targeted to a noncentromeric site after the endogenous centromere is conditionally removed. Using this system, we created two distinct types of engineered kinetochores, both of which were stably maintained in chicken DT40 cells. Ectopic targeting of full-length HJURP, CENP-C, CENP-I, or the CENP-C C terminus generated engineered kinetochores containing major kinetochore components, including CENP-A. In contrast, ectopic targeting of the CENP-T or CENP-C N terminus generated functional kinetochores that recruit the microtubule-binding Ndc80 complex and chromosome passenger complex (CPC), but lack CENP-A and most constitutive centromere-associated network (CCAN) proteins. Based on the analysis of these different engineered kinetochores, we conclude that the CCAN has two distinct roles: recruiting CENP-A to establish the kinetochore and serving as a structural core to directly recruit kinetochore proteins.
Project description:Eukaryotic chromosomes contain a specialised region known as the centromere, which forms the platform for kinetochore assembly and microtubule attachment. The centromere is distinguished by the presence of nucleosomes containing the histone H3 variant, CENP-A. In budding yeast, centromere establishment begins with the recognition of a specific DNA sequence by the CBF3 complex. This in turn facilitates CENP-ACse4 nucleosome deposition and kinetochore assembly. Here, we describe a 3.6 Å single-particle cryo-EM reconstruction of the core CBF3 complex, incorporating the sequence-specific DNA-binding protein Cep3 together with regulatory subunits Ctf13 and Skp1. This provides the first structural data on Ctf13, defining it as an F-box protein of the leucine-rich-repeat family, and demonstrates how a novel F-box-mediated interaction between Ctf13 and Skp1 is responsible for initial assembly of the CBF3 complex.
Project description:Chromosome segregation in metazoans requires the alignment of sister kinetochores on the metaphase plate. During chromosome alignment, bioriented kinetochores move chromosomes by regulating the plus-end dynamics of the attached microtubules. The bundles of kinetochore-bound microtubules alternate between growth and shrinkage, leading to regular oscillations along the spindle axis. However, the molecular mechanisms that coordinate microtubule plus-end dynamics remain unknown. Here we show that centromere protein (CENP)-H, a subunit of the CENP-A nucleosome-associated and CENP-A distal complexes (CENP-A NAC/CAD), is essential for this coordination, because kinetochores lacking CENP-H establish bioriented attachments but fail to generate regular oscillations, as a result of an uncontrolled rate of microtubule plus-end turnover. These alterations lead to rapid erratic movements that disrupt metaphase plate organization. We also show that the abundance of the CENP-A NAC/CAD subunits CENP-H and CENP-I dynamically change on individual sister kinetochores in vivo, because they preferentially bind the sister kinetochore attached to growing microtubules, and that one other subunit, CENP-Q, binds microtubules in vitro. We therefore propose that CENP-A NAC/CAD is a direct regulator of kinetochore-microtubule dynamics, which physically links centromeric DNA to microtubule plus ends.
Project description:In many eukaryotes, the centromere is epigenetically specified and not strictly defined by sequence. In contrast, budding yeast has a specific 125 bp sequence required for kinetochore function. Despite the difference in centromere specification, budding yeast and multicellular eukaryotic centromeres contain a highly conserved histone H3 variant, CENP-A. The localization of budding yeast CENP-A, Cse4, requires the centromere DNA binding components, which are not conserved in multicellular eukaryotes. Here, we report that Cse4 localizes and functions at a synthetic kinetochore assembly site that lacks centromere sequence. The outer kinetochore Dam1-DASH and inner kinetochore CBF3 complexes are required for Cse4 localization to that site. Furthermore, the natural kinetochore also requires the outer kinetochore proteins for full Cse4 localization. Our results suggest that Cse4 localization at a functional kinetochore does not require the recognition of a specific DNA sequence by the CBF3 complex; rather, its localization depends on stable interactions among kinetochore proteins.
Project description:High-fidelity transmission of the genome through cell division requires that all sister kinetochores bind to dynamic microtubules (MTs) from opposite spindle poles. The application of opposing forces to this bioriented configuration produces tension that stabilizes kinetochore-microtubule (kt-MT) attachments. Defining the magnitude of force that is applied to kinetochores is central to understanding the mechano-molecular underpinnings of chromosome segregation; however, existing kinetochore force measurements span orders of magnitude. Here we measure kinetochore forces by engineering two calibrated force sensors into the Drosophila kinetochore protein centromere protein (CENP)-C. Measurements of both reporters indicate that they are, on average, under ?1-2 piconewtons (pNs) of force at metaphase. Based on estimates of the number of CENP-C molecules and MTs per Drosophila kinetochore and envisioning kinetochore linkages arranged such that they distribute forces across them, we propose that kinetochore fibres (k-fibres) exert hundreds of pNs of poleward-directed force to bioriented kinetochores.
Project description:We report the interactions amongst 20 proteins that specify their assembly to the centromere-kinetochore complex in human cells. Centromere protein (CENP)-A is at the top of a hierarchy that directs three major pathways, which are specified by CENP-C, -I, and Aurora B. Each pathway consists of branches that intersect to form nodes that may coordinate the assembly process. Complementary EM studies found that the formation of kinetochore trilaminar plates depends on the CENP-I/NUF2 branch, whereas CENP-C and Aurora B affect the size, shape, and structural integrity of the plates. We found that hMis12 is not constitutively localized at kinetochores, and that it is not essential for recruiting CENP-I. Our studies also revealed that kinetochores in HeLa cells contain an excess of CENP-A, of which approximately 10% is sufficient to promote the assembly of normal levels of kinetochore proteins. We elaborate on a previous model that suggested kinetochores are assembled from repetitive modules (Zinkowski, R.P., J. Meyne, and B.R. Brinkley. 1991. J. Cell Biol. 113:1091-110).