Spindle formation, chromosome segregation and the spindle checkpoint in mammalian oocytes and susceptibility to meiotic error.
ABSTRACT The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) monitors attachment to microtubules and tension on chromosomes in mitosis and meiosis. It represents a surveillance mechanism that halts cells in M-phase in the presence of unattached chromosomes, associated with accumulation of checkpoint components, in particular, Mad2, at the kinetochores. A complex between the anaphase promoting factor/cylosome (APC/C), its accessory protein Cdc20 and proteins of the SAC renders APC/C inactive, usually until all chromosomes are properly assembled at the spindle equator (chromosome congression) and under tension from spindle fibres. Upon release from the SAC the APC/C can target proteins like cyclin B and securin for degradation by the proteasome. Securin degradation causes activation of separase proteolytic enzyme, and in mitosis cleavage of cohesin proteins at the centromeres and arms of sister chromatids. In meiosis I only the cohesin proteins at the sister chromatid arms are cleaved. This requires meiosis specific components and tight regulation by kinase and phosphatase activities. There is no S-phase between meiotic divisions. Second meiosis resembles mitosis. Mammalian oocytes arrest constitutively at metaphase II in presence of aligned chromosomes, which is due to the activity of the cytostatic factor (CSF). The SAC has been identified in spermatogenesis and oogenesis, but gender-differences may contribute to sex-specific differential responses to aneugens. The age-related reduction in expression of components of the SAC in mammalian oocytes may act synergistically with spindle and other cell organelles' dysfunction, and a partial loss of cohesion between sister chromatids to predispose oocytes to errors in chromosome segregation. This might affect dose-response to aneugens. In view of the tendency to have children at advanced maternal ages it appears relevant to pursue studies on consequences of ageing on the susceptibility of human oocytes to the induction of meiotic error by aneugens and establish models to assess risks to human health by environmental exposures.
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ABSTRACT: The mitotic checkpoint prevents cells with unaligned chromosomes from prematurely exiting mitosis by inhibiting the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) from targeting key proteins for ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. We have examined the mechanism by which the checkpoint inhibits the APC/C by purifying an APC/C inhibitory factor from HeLa cells. We call this factor the mitotic checkpoint complex (MCC) as it consists of hBUBR1, hBUB3, CDC20, and MAD2 checkpoint proteins in near equal stoichiometry. MCC inhibitory activity is 3,000-fold greater than that of recombinant MAD2, which has also been shown to inhibit APC/C in vitro. Surprisingly, MCC is not generated from kinetochores, as it is also present and active in interphase cells. However, only APC/C isolated from mitotic cells was sensitive to inhibition by MCC. We found that the majority of the APC/C in mitotic lysates is associated with the MCC, and this likely contributes to the lag in ubiquitin ligase activity. Importantly, chromosomes can suppress the reactivation of APC/C. Chromosomes did not affect the inhibitory activity of MCC or the stimulatory activity of CDC20. We propose that the preformed interphase pool of MCC allows for rapid inhibition of APC/C when cells enter mitosis. Unattached kinetochores then target the APC/C for sustained inhibition by the MCC.The Journal of Cell Biology 10/2001; 154(5):925-36. · 10.82 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Kinetochores often form merotelic attachments, in which a single kinetochore is attached to microtubules from both spindle poles. These attachments can result in improper chromosome segregation and are a significant source of aneuploidy, a hallmark of cancer. Aurora B kinase and the kinesin-13 microtubule depolymerase mitotic-centromere-associated kinesin (MCAK) are required to release improper microtubule attachments. Aurora B regulates MCAK's activity and localization. We set out to understand why MCAK and Aurora B are more abundant at some metaphase-aligned centromeres but are present at low amounts on most others. We found that members of the Aurora B complex are specifically enriched at merotelic attachment sites. We also found that Aurora B does not require its activity to become enriched at these sites; however, inhibition of Aurora B activity causes a significant increase in the number of merotelic attachments per cell. Aurora B activity enriches MCAK at merotelic attachments and phosphorylates MCAK on residues that regulate its microtubule depolymerase activity. These data demonstrate that proteins that resolve the defect are specifically localized to merotelic attachments, where their enzymatic activities are regulated.Current Biology 10/2006; 16(17):1705-10. · 9.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The spindle checkpoint delays anaphase onset until all chromosomes have achieved bipolar attachment to the spindle microtubules. Unattached kinetochores activate the spindle checkpoint by recruiting several spindle-checkpoint proteins, including Mps1, Mad1, Mad2, Bub1, Bub3, and BubR1 (Mad3 in yeast). In vertebrate cells, active MAP kinase (MAPK) is also enriched at unattached kinetochores and is required for the spindle checkpoint. It has been shown that the kinase activity of Mps1 is required for the spindle checkpoint and for kinetochore localization of Bub1, Bub3, Mad1, and Mad2 . We herein demonstrate that MAPK phosphorylates Mps1 at S844 in Xenopus egg extracts. Interestingly, changing S844 to unphosphorylatable alanine (S844A) has no effect on the kinase activity of Mps1, although it abolishes the checkpoint function of Mps1. Biochemical and immunofluorescence studies show that S844A mutation perturbs kinetochore localization of Mps1 and other spindle-checkpoint proteins, whereas the phosphorylation-mimicking S844D mutant restores their functions. Our studies suggest that Mps1 phosphorylation by MAPK at S844 might create a phosphoepitope that allows Mps1 to interact with kinetochores. In addition, our results indicate that active Mps1 must localize to kinetochores in order to execute its checkpoint function.Current Biology 10/2006; 16(17):1764-9. · 9.49 Impact Factor