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A unique set of centrosome proteins requires pericentrin for spindle-pole localization and spindle orientation.

Majewski osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism type II (MOPDII) is caused by mutations in the centrosome gene pericentrin (PCNT) that lead to severe pre- and postnatal growth retardation [1]. As in MOPDII patients, disruption of pericentrin (Pcnt) in mice caused a number of abnormalities including microcephaly, aberrant hemodynamics analyzed by in utero echocardiography, and cardiovascular anomalies; the latter being associated with mortality, as in the human condition [1]. To identify the mechanisms underlying these defects, we tested for changes in cell and molecular function. All Pcnt(-/-) mouse tissues and cells examined showed spindle misorientation. This mouse phenotype was associated with misdirected ventricular septal growth in the heart, decreased proliferative symmetric divisions in brain neural progenitors, and increased misoriented divisions in fibroblasts; the same phenotype was seen in fibroblasts from three MOPDII individuals. Misoriented spindles were associated with disrupted astral microtubules and near complete loss of a unique set of centrosome proteins from spindle poles (ninein, Cep215, centriolin). All these proteins appear to be crucial for microtubule anchoring and all interacted with Pcnt, suggesting that Pcnt serves as a molecular scaffold for this functionally linked set of spindle pole proteins. Importantly, Pcnt disruption had no detectable effect on localization of proteins involved in the cortical polarity pathway (NuMA, p150(glued), aPKC). Not only do these data reveal a spindle-pole-localized complex for spindle orientation, but they identify key spindle symmetry proteins involved in the pathogenesis of MOPDII.

Chromatin remodeling proteins interact with pericentrin to regulate centrosome integrity.

Pericentrin is an integral centrosomal component that anchors regulatory and structural molecules to centrosomes. In a yeast two-hybrid screen with pericentrin we identified chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 4 (CHD4/Mi2beta). CHD4 is part of the multiprotein nucleosome remodeling deacetylase (NuRD) complex. We show that many NuRD components interacted with pericentrin by coimmunoprecipitation and that they localized to centrosomes and midbodies. Overexpression of the pericentrin-binding domain of CHD4 or another family member (CHD3) dissociated pericentrin from centrosomes. Depletion of CHD3, but not CHD4, by RNA interference dissociated pericentrin and gamma-tubulin from centrosomes. Microtubule nucleation/organization, cell morphology, and nuclear centration were disrupted in CHD3-depleted cells. Spindles were disorganized, the majority showing a prometaphase-like configuration. Time-lapse imaging revealed mitotic failure before chromosome segregation and cytokinesis failure. We conclude that pericentrin forms complexes with CHD3 and CHD4, but a distinct CHD3-pericentrin complex is required for centrosomal anchoring of pericentrin/gamma-tubulin and for centrosome integrity.

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

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.ilia and flagella.

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.