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The centrosome regulates the Rab11- dependent recycling endosome pathway at appendages of the mother centriole.

The recycling endosome localizes to a pericentrosomal region via microtubule-dependent transport. We previously showed that Sec15, an effector of the recycling endosome component, Rab11-GTPase, interacts with the mother centriole appendage protein, centriolin, suggesting an interaction between endosomes and centrosomes. Here we show that the recycling endosome associates with the appendages of the mother (older) centriole. We show that two mother centriole appendage proteins, centriolin and cenexin/ODF2, regulate association of the endosome components Rab11, the Rab11 GTP-activating protein Evi5, and the exocyst at the mother centriole. Development of an in vitro method for reconstituting endosome protein complexes onto isolated membrane-free centrosomes demonstrates that purified GTP-Rab11 but not GDP-Rab11 binds to mother centriole appendages in the absence of membranes. Moreover, centriolin depletion displaces the centrosomal Rab11 GAP, Evi5, and increases mother-centriole-associated Rab11; depletion of Evi5 also increases centrosomal Rab11. This indicates that centriolin localizes Evi5 to centriolar appendages to turn off centrosomal Rab11 activity. Finally, centriolin depletion disrupts recycling endosome organization and function, suggesting a role for mother centriole proteins in the regulation of Rab11 localization and activity at the mother centriole.


Centrin depletion causes cyst formation and other ciliopathy-related phenotypes in zebrafish.

Most bona fide centrosome proteins including centrins, small calcium-binding proteins, participate in spindle function during mitosis and play a role in cilia assembly in non-cycling cells. Although the basic cellular functions of centrins have been studied in lower eukaryotes and vertebrate cells in culture, phenotypes associated with centrin depletion in vertebrates in vivo has not been directly addressed. To test this, we depleted centrin2 in zebrafish and found that it leads to ciliopathy phenotypes including enlarged pronephric tubules and pronephric cysts. Consistent with the ciliopathy phenotypes, cilia defects were observed in differentiated epithelial cells of ciliated organs such as the olfactory bulb and pronephric duct. The organ phenotypes were also accompanied by cell cycle deregulation namely mitotic delay resulting from mitotic defects. Overall, this work demonstrates that centrin2 depletion causes cilia-related disorders in zebrafish. Moreover, given the presence of both cilia and mitotic defects in the affected organs, it suggests that cilia disorders may arise from a combination of these defects. 

Loss of centrosome integrity induces p38-p53-p21-dependent G1-S arrest.

Centrosomes organize the microtubule cytoskeleton for both interphase and mitotic functions. They are implicated in cell-cycle progression but the mechanism is unknown. Here, we show that depletion of 14 out of 15 centrosome proteins arrests human diploid cells in G1 with reduced Cdk2-cyclin A activity and that expression of a centrosome-disrupting dominant-negative construct gives similar results. Cell-cycle arrest is always accompanied by defects in centrosome structure and function (for example, duplication and primary cilia assembly). The arrest occurs from within G1, excluding contributions from mitosis and cytokinesis. The arrest requires p38, p53 and p21, and is preceded by p38-dependent activation and centrosomal recruitment of p53. p53-deficient cells fail to arrest, leading to centrosome and spindle dysfunction and aneuploidy. We propose that loss of centrosome integrity activates a checkpoint that inhibits G1-S progression. This model satisfies the definition of a checkpoint in having three elements: a perturbation that is sensed, a transducer (p53) and a receiver (p21).

Pericentrin forms a complex with intraflagellar transport proteins and polycystin-2 and is required for primary cilia assembly.

Primary cilia are nonmotile microtubule structures that assemble from basal bodies by a process called intraflagellar transport (IFT) and are associated with several human diseases. Here, we show that the centrosome protein pericentrin (Pcnt) colocalizes with IFT proteins to the base of primary and motile cilia. Immunogold electron microscopy demonstrates that Pcnt is on or near basal bodies at the base of cilia. Pcnt depletion by RNA interference disrupts basal body localization of IFT proteins and the cation channel polycystin-2 (PC2), and inhibits primary cilia assembly in human epithelial cells. Conversely, silencing of IFT20 mislocalizes Pcnt from basal bodies and inhibits primary cilia assembly. Pcnt is found in spermatocyte IFT fractions, and IFT proteins are found in isolated centrosome fractions. Pcnt antibodies coimmunoprecipitate IFT proteins and PC2 from several cell lines and tissues. We conclude that Pcnt, IFTs, and PC2 form a complex in vertebrate cells that is required for assembly of primary cilia and possibly motile cilia and flagella.

Centrosome defects can account for cellular and genetic changes that characterize prostate cancer progression.

Factors that determine the biological and clinical behavior of prostate cancer are largely unknown. Prostate tumor progression is characterized by changes in cellular architecture, glandular organization, and genomic composition. These features are reflected in the Gleason grade of the tumor and in the development of aneuploidy. Cellular architecture and genomic stability are controlled in part by centrosomes, organelles that organize microtubule arrays including mitotic spindles. Here we demonstrate that centrosomes are structurally and numerically abnormal in the majority of prostate carcinomas. Centrosome abnormalities increase with increasing Gleason grade and with increasing levels of genomic instability. Selective induction of centrosome abnormalities by elevating levels of the centrosome protein pericentrin in prostate epithelial cell lines reproduces many of the phenotypic characteristics of high-grade prostate carcinoma. Cells that transiently or permanently express pericentrin exhibit severe centrosome and spindle defects, cellular disorganization, genomic instability, and enhanced growth in soft agar. On the basis of these observations, we propose a model in which centrosome dysfunction contributes to the progressive loss of cellular and glandular architecture and increasing genomic instability that accompany prostate cancer progression, dissemination, and lethality.