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Rab11 endosomes contribute to mitotic spindle organization and orientation.


During interphase, Rab11-GTPase-containing endosomes recycle endocytic cargo. However, little is known about Rab11 endosomes in mitosis. Here, we show that Rab11 localizes to the mitotic spindle and regulates dynein-dependent endosome localization at poles. We found that mitotic recycling endosomes bind γ-TuRC components and associate with tubulin in vitro. Rab11 depletion or dominant-negative Rab11 expression disrupts astral microtubules, delays mitosis, and redistributes spindle pole proteins. Reciprocally, constitutively active Rab11 increases astral microtubules, restores γ-tubulin spindle pole localization, and generates robust spindles. This suggests a role for Rab11 activity in spindle pole maturation during mitosis. Rab11 depletion causes misorientation of the mitotic spindle and the plane of cell division. These findings suggest a molecular mechanism for the organization of astral microtubules and the mitotic spindle through Rab11-dependent control of spindle pole assembly and function. We propose that Rab11 and its associated endosomes co-contribute to these processes through retrograde transport to poles by dynein. 

The cilia protein IFT88 is required for spindle orientation in mitosis.

Cilia dysfunction has long been associated with cyst formation and ciliopathies. More recently, misoriented cell division has been observed in cystic kidneys, but the molecular mechanism leading to this abnormality remains unclear. Proteins of the intraflagellar transport (IFT) machinery are linked to cystogenesis and are required for cilia formation in non-cycling cells. Several IFT proteins also localize to spindle poles in mitosis, indicating uncharacterized functions for these proteins in dividing cells. Here, we show that IFT88 depletion induces mitotic defects in human cultured cells, in kidney cells from the IFT88 mouse mutant Tg737(orpk) and in zebrafish embryos. In mitosis, IFT88 is part of a dynein1-driven complex that transports peripheral microtubule clusters containing microtubule-nucleating proteins to spindle poles to ensure proper formation of astral microtubule arrays and thus proper spindle orientation. This work identifies a mitotic mechanism for a cilia protein in the orientation of cell division and has important implications for the etiology of ciliopathies.

Dynein light intermediate chain 1 is required for progress through the spindle assembly checkpoint.

The spindle assembly checkpoint monitors microtubule attachment to kinetochores and tension across sister kinetochores to ensure accurate division of chromosomes between daughter cells. Cytoplasmic dynein functions in the checkpoint, apparently by moving critical checkpoint components off kinetochores. The dynein subunit required for this function is unknown. Here we show that human cells depleted of dynein light intermediate chain 1 (LIC1) delay in metaphase with increased interkinetochore distances; dynein remains intact, localised and functional. The checkpoint proteins Mad1/2 and Zw10 localise to kinetochores under full tension, whereas BubR1 is diminished at kinetochores. Metaphase delay and increased interkinetochore distances are suppressed by depletion of Mad1, Mad2 or BubR1 or by re-expression of wtLIC1 or a Cdk1 site phosphomimetic LIC1 mutant, but not Cdk1-phosphorylation-deficient LIC1. When the checkpoint is activated by microtubule depolymerisation, Mad1/2 and BubR1 localise to kinetochores. We conclude that a Cdk1 phosphorylated form of LIC1 is required to remove Mad1/2 and Zw10 but not BubR1 from kinetochores during spindle assembly checkpoint silencing.

Survivin modulates microtubule dynamics and nucleation throughout the cell cycle.

Survivin is a member of the chromosomal passenger complex implicated in kinetochore attachment, bipolar spindle formation, and cytokinesis. However, the mechanism by which survivin modulates these processes is unknown. Here, we show by time-lapse imaging of cells expressing either green fluorescent protein (GFP)-alpha-tubulin or the microtubule plus-end binding protein GFP-EB1 that depletion of survivin by small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) increased both the number of microtubules nucleated by centrosomes and the incidence of microtubule catastrophe, the transition from microtubule growth to shrinking. In contrast, survivin overexpression reduced centrosomal microtubule nucleation and suppressed both microtubule dynamics in mitotic spindles and bidirectional growth of microtubules in midbodies during cytokinesis. siRNA depletion or pharmacologic inhibition of another chromosomal passenger protein Aurora B, had no effect on microtubule dynamics or nucleation in interphase or mitotic cells even though mitosis was impaired. We propose a model in which survivin modulates several mitotic events, including spindle and interphase microtubule organization, the spindle assembly checkpoint and cytokinesis through its ability to modulate microtubule nucleation and dynamics. This pathway may affect the microtubule-dependent generation of aneuploidy and defects in cell polarity in cancer cells, where survivin is commonly up-regulated.

Mitosis-specific anchoring of gamma tubulin complexes by pericentrin controls spindle organization and mitotic entry.

Microtubule nucleation is the best known function of centrosomes. Centrosomal microtubule nucleation is mediated primarily by gamma tubulin ring complexes (gamma TuRCs). However, little is known about the molecules that anchor these complexes to centrosomes. In this study, we show that the centrosomal coiled-coil protein pericentrin anchors gamma TuRCs at spindle poles through an interaction with gamma tubulin complex proteins 2 and 3 (GCP2/3). Pericentrin silencing by small interfering RNAs in somatic cells disrupted gamma tubulin localization and spindle organization in mitosis but had no effect on gamma tubulin localization or microtubule organization in interphase cells. Similarly, overexpression of the GCP2/3 binding domain of pericentrin disrupted the endogenous pericentrin-gamma TuRC interaction and perturbed astral microtubules and spindle bipolarity. When added to Xenopus mitotic extracts, this domain uncoupled gamma TuRCs from centrosomes, inhibited microtubule aster assembly, and induced rapid disassembly of preassembled asters. All phenotypes were significantly reduced in a pericentrin mutant with diminished GCP2/3 binding and were specific for mitotic centrosomal asters as we observed little effect on interphase asters or on asters assembled by the Ran-mediated centrosome-independent pathway. Additionally, pericentrin silencing or overexpression induced G2/antephase arrest followed by apoptosis in many but not all cell types. We conclude that pericentrin anchoring of gamma tubulin complexes at centrosomes in mitotic cells is required for proper spindle organization and that loss of this anchoring mechanism elicits a checkpoint response that prevents mitotic entry and triggers apoptotic cell death.

Direct interaction of pericentrin with cytoplasmic dynein light intermediate chain contributes to mitotic spindle organization.

Pericentrin is a conserved protein of the centrosome involved in microtubule organization. To better understand pericentrin function, we overexpressed the protein in somatic cells and assayed for changes in the composition and function of mitotic spindles and spindle poles. Spindles in pericentrin-overexpressing cells were disorganized and mispositioned, and chromosomes were misaligned and missegregated during cell division, giving rise to aneuploid cells. We unexpectedly found that levels of the molecular motor cytoplasmic dynein were dramatically reduced at spindle poles. Cytoplasmic dynein was diminished at kinetochores also, and the dynein-mediated organization of the Golgi complex was disrupted. Dynein coimmunoprecipitated with overexpressed pericentrin, suggesting that the motor was sequestered in the cytoplasm and was prevented from associating with its cellular targets. Immunoprecipitation of endogenous pericentrin also pulled down cytoplasmic dynein in untransfected cells. To define the basis for this interaction, pericentrin was coexpressed with cytoplasmic dynein heavy (DHCs), intermediate (DICs), and light intermediate (LICs) chains, and the dynamitin and p150(Glued) subunits of dynactin. Only the LICs coimmunoprecipitated with pericentrin. These results provide the first physiological role for LIC, and they suggest that a pericentrin-dynein interaction in vivo contributes to the assembly, organization, and function of centrosomes and mitotic spindles.