[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heterochromatin at the pericentromeric repeats in fission yeast is assembled and spread by an RNAi-dependent mechanism, which is coupled with the transcription of non-coding RNA from the repeats by RNA polymerase II. In addition, Rrp6, a component of the nuclear exosome, also contributes to heterochromatin assembly and is coupled with non-coding RNA transcription. The multi-subunit complex Mediator, which directs initiation of RNA polymerase II-dependent transcription, has recently been suggested to function after initiation in processes such as elongation of transcription and splicing. However, the role of Mediator in the regulation of chromatin structure is not well understood. We investigated the role of Mediator in pericentromeric heterochromatin formation and found that deletion of specific subunits of the head domain of Mediator compromised heterochromatin structure. The Mediator head domain was required for Rrp6-dependent heterochromatin nucleation at the pericentromere and for RNAi-dependent spreading of heterochromatin into the neighboring region. In the latter process, Mediator appeared to contribute to efficient processing of siRNA from transcribed non-coding RNA, which was required for efficient spreading of heterochromatin. Furthermore, the head domain directed efficient transcription in heterochromatin. These results reveal a pivotal role for Mediator in multiple steps of transcription-coupled formation of pericentromeric heterochromatin. This observation further extends the role of Mediator to co-transcriptional chromatin regulation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pairing and recombination of homologous chromosomes are essential for ensuring reductional segregation in meiosis. However, the mechanisms by which chromosomes recognize their homologous partners are poorly understood. Here, we report that the sme2 gene encodes a meiosis-specific noncoding RNA that mediates homologous recognition in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. The sme2 locus shows robust pairing from early in meiotic prophase. The sme2 RNA transcripts accumulate at their respective gene loci and greatly enhance pairing of homologous loci: Deletion of the sme2 sequence eliminates this robust pairing, whereas transposition to other chromosomal sites confers robust pairing at those ectopic sites. Thus, we propose that RNA transcripts retained on the chromosome play an active role in recognition of homologous chromosomes for pairing.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In many organisms, telomeres cluster to form a bouquet arrangement of chromosomes during meiotic prophase. Previously, we reported that two meiotic proteins, Bqt1 and -2, are required for tethering telomeres to the spindle pole body (SPB) during meiotic prophase in fission yeast. This study has further identified two novel, ubiquitously expressed inner nuclear membrane (INM) proteins, Bqt3 and -4, which are required for bouquet formation. We found that in the absence of Bqt4, telomeres failed to associate with the nuclear membranes in vegetative cells and consequently failed to cluster to the SPB in meiotic prophase. In the absence of Bqt3, Bqt4 protein was degraded during meiosis, leading to a phenotype similar to that of the bqt4-null mutant. Collectively, these results show that Bqt4 anchors telomeres to the INM and that Bqt3 protects Bqt4 from protein degradation. Interestingly, the functional integrity of telomeres is maintained even when they are separated from the nuclear envelope in vegetative cells.
The Journal of Cell Biology 11/2009; 187(3):413-27. · 9.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rheb, a Ras-like small GTPase conserved from human to yeast, controls Tor kinase and plays a central role in the regulation of cell growth depending on extracellular conditions. Rhb1 (a fission yeast homolog of Rheb) regulates amino acid uptake as well as response to nitrogen starvation. In this study, we generated two mutants, rhb1-DA4 and rhb1-DA8, and characterized them genetically. The V17A mutation within the G1 box defined for the Ras-like GTPases was responsible for rhb1-DA4 and Q52R I76F within the switch II domain for rhb1-DA8. In fission yeast, two events--the induction of the meiosis-initiating gene mei2+ and cell division without cell growth--are a typical response to nitrogen starvation. Under nitrogen-rich conditions, Rheb stimulates Tor kinase, which, in turn, suppresses the response to nitrogen starvation. While amino acid uptake was prevented by both rhb1-DA4 and rhb1-DA8 in a dominant fashion, the response to nitrogen starvation was prevented only by rhb1-DA4. rhb1-DA8 thereby allowed genetic dissection of the Rheb-dependent signaling cascade. We postulate that the signaling cascade may branch below Rhb1 or Tor2 and regulate the amino acid uptake and response to nitrogen starvation independently.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We constructed a library of chromosomally-tagged green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusions in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. This library contains 1058 strains. In each strain, the coding sequence of GFP is integrated at the 3'-end of a particular chromosomal ORF such that the full-length GFP fusion construct is expressed under the control of the original promoter. Integration of the GFP coding sequence at the authentic chromosomal location of each gene was confirmed by PCR. Microscopic screening of these strains detected sufficient levels of GFP signal in 710 strains and allowed assignment of these GFP-fusion gene products with their intracellular localization: 374 proteins were localized in the nucleus, 65 proteins in the nucleolus, 34 proteins at the nuclear periphery, 27 proteins at the plasma membrane and cytoplasmic membranous structures, 24 proteins at the spindle pole body and microtubules, 92 proteins at cytoplasmic structures, and 94 proteins were uniformly distributed throughout the cytoplasm.
Genes to Cells 03/2009; 14(2):217-25. · 2.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Body cells in multicellular organisms are in the G0 state, in which cells are arrested and terminally differentiated. To understand how the G0 state is maintained, the genes that are specifically expressed or repressed in G0 must be identified, as they control G0. In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, haploid cells are completely arrested under nitrogen source starvation with high viability. We examined the global transcriptome of G0 cells and cells on the course to resume vegetative growth. Approximately 20% of the transcripts of approximately 5000 genes increased or decreased more than fourfold in the two-step transitions that occur prior to replication. Of the top 30 abundant transcripts in G0, 23 were replaced by ribosome- and translation-related transcripts in the dividing vegetative state. Eight identified clusters with distinct alteration patterns of approximately 2700 transcripts were annotated by Gene Ontology. Disruption of 53 genes indicated that nine of them were necessary to support the proper G0 state. These nine genes included two C2H2 zinc finger transcription factors, a cyclin-like protein implicated in phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II, two putative autophagy regulators, a G-protein activating factor, and two CBS domain proteins, possibly involved in AMP-activated kinase.
Genes to Cells 06/2007; 12(5):677-92. · 2.86 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Imbalances of gene expression in aneuploids, which contain an abnormal number of chromosomes, cause a variety of growth and developmental defects. Aneuploid cells of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe are inviable, or very unstable, during mitotic growth. However, S. pombe haploid cells bearing minichromosomes derived from the chromosome 3 can grow stably as a partial aneuploid. To address biological consequences of aneuploidy, we examined the gene expression profiles of partial aneuploid strains using DNA microarray analysis. The expression of genes in disomic or trisomic cells was found to increase approximately in proportion to their copy number. We also found that some genes in the monosomic regions of partial aneuploid strains increased their expression level despite there being no change in copy number. This change in gene expression can be attributed to increased expression of the genes in the disomic or trisomic regions. However, even in an aneuploid strain that bears a minichromosome containing no protein coding genes, genes located within about 50 kb of the telomere showed similar increases in expression, indicating that these changes are not a secondary effect of the increased gene dosage. Examining the distribution of the heterochromoatin protein Swi6 using DNA microarray analysis, we found that binding of Swi6 within ~50 kb from the telomere occurred less in partial aneuploid strains compared to euploid strains. These results suggest that additional chromosomes in aneuploids could lead to imbalances in gene expression through changes in distribution of heterochromatin as well as in gene dosage.
Cell Structure and Function 02/2007; 32(2):149-61. · 2.35 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Much remains unknown about the molecular regulation of meiosis. Here we show that meiosis-specific transcripts are selectively removed if expressed during vegetative growth in fission yeast. These messenger RNAs contain a cis-acting region--which we call the DSR--that confers this removal via binding to a YTH-family protein Mmi1. Loss of Mmi1 function severely impairs cell growth owing to the untimely expression of meiotic transcripts. Microarray analysis reveals that at least a dozen such meiosis-specific transcripts are eliminated by the DSR-Mmi1 system. Mmi1 remains in the form of multiple nuclear foci during vegetative growth. At meiotic prophase these foci precipitate to a single focus, which coincides with the dot formed by the master meiosis-regulator Mei2. A meiotic arrest due to the loss of the Mei2 dot is released by a reduction in Mmi1 activity. We propose that Mei2 turns off the DSR-Mmi1 system by sequestering Mmi1 to the dot and thereby secures stable expression of meiosis-specific transcripts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the human Tsc1 and Tsc2 genes predispose to tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a disorder characterized by the wide spread of benign tumors. Tsc1 and Tsc2 proteins form a complex and serve as a GTPase-activating protein (GAP) for Rheb, a GTPase regulating a downstream kinase, mTOR. The genome of Schizosaccharomyces pombe contains tsc1(+) and tsc2(+), homologs of human Tsc1 and Tsc2, respectively. In this study we analyzed the gene expression profile on a genomewide scale and found that deletion of either tsc1(+) or tsc2(+) affects gene induction upon nitrogen starvation. Three hours after nitrogen depletion genes encoding permeases and genes required for meiosis are less induced. Under the same condition, retrotransposons, G1-cyclin (pas1(+)), and inv1(+) are more induced. We also demonstrate that a mutation (cpp1-1) in a gene encoding a beta-subunit of a farnesyltransferase can suppress most of the phenotypes associated with deletion of tsc1(+) or tsc2(+). When a mutant of rhb1(+) (homolog of human Rheb), which bypasses the requirement of protein farnesylation, was expressed, the cpp1-1 mutation could no longer suppress, indicating that deficient farnesylation of Rhb1 contributes to the suppression. On the basis of these results, we discuss TSC pathology and possible improvement in chemotherapy for TSC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In many organisms, meiotic chromosomes are bundled at their telomeres to form a "bouquet" arrangement. The bouquet formation plays an important role in homologous chromosome pairing and therefore progression of meiosis. As meiotic telomere clustering occurs in response to mating pheromone signaling in fission yeast, we looked for factors essential for bouquet formation among genes induced under mating pheromone signaling. This genome-wide search identified two proteins, Bqt1 and Bqt2, that connect telomeres to the spindle-pole body (SPB; the centrosome equivalent in fungi). Neither Bqt1 nor Bqt2 alone functions as a connector, but together the two proteins form a bridge between Rap1 (a telomere protein) and Sad1 (an SPB protein). Significantly, when both Bqt1 and Bqt2 are ectopically expressed in mitotic cells, they also form a bridge between Rap1 and Sad1. Thus, a complex including Bqt1 and Bqt2 is essential for connecting telomeres to the SPB.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During meiotic prophase in fission yeast, the nucleus migrates back and forth between the two ends of the cell, led by the spindle pole body (SPB). This nuclear oscillation is dependent on astral microtubules radiating from the SPB and a microtubule motor, cytoplasmic dynein. Here we have examined the dynamic behavior of astral microtubules labeled with the green fluorescent protein during meiotic prophase with the use of optical sectioning microscopy. During nuclear migrations, the SPB mostly follows the microtubules that extend toward the cell cortex. SPB migrations start when these microtubules interact with the cortex and stop when they disappear, suggesting that these microtubules drive nuclear migrations. The microtubules that are followed by the SPB often slide along the cortex and are shortened by disassembly at their ends proximal to the cortex. In dynein-mutant cells, where nuclear oscillations are absent, the SPB never migrates by following microtubules, and microtubule assembly/disassembly dynamics is significantly altered. Based on these observations, together with the frequent accumulation of dynein at a cortical site where the directing microtubules interact, we propose a model in which dynein drives nuclear oscillation by mediating cortical microtubule interactions and regulating the dynamics of microtubule disassembly at the cortex.
Molecular Biology of the Cell 01/2002; 12(12):3933-46. · 4.55 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The centromere is crucial for the proper segregation of chromosomes in all eukaryotic cells. We identified a centromeric protein, Nuf2, which is conserved in fission yeast, human, nematode, and budding yeast. Gene disruption of nuf2+ in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe caused defects in chromosome segregation and the spindle checkpoint: the mitotic spindle elongated without segregating the chromosomes, indicating that spindle function was compromised, but that this abnormality did not result in metaphase arrest. Certain nuf2 temperature-sensitive mutations, however, caused metaphase arrest with condensed chromosomes and a short spindle, indicating that, while these mutations caused abnormalities in spindle function, the spindle checkpoint pathway remained intact. Metaphase arrest in these cells was dependent on the spindle checkpoint component Mad2. Interestingly, Nuf2 disappeared from the centromere during meiotic prophase when centromeres lose their connection to the spindle pole body. We propose that Nuf2 acts at the centromere to establish a connection with the spindle for proper chromosome segregation, and that Nuf2 function is also required for the spindle checkpoint.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We determined the times when the nuclear membrane, nuclear pore complex (NPC) components, and nuclear import function were recovered during telophase in living HeLa cells. Simultaneous observation of fluorescently-labeled NLS-bearing proteins, lamin B receptor (LBR)-GFP, and Hoechst33342-stained chromosomes revealed that nuclear membranes reassembled around chromosomes by 5 minutes after the onset of anaphase (early telophase) whereas nuclear import function was recovered later, at 8 minutes. GFP-tagged emerin also accumulated on chromosomes 5 minutes after the onset of anaphase. Interestingly, emerin and LBR initially accumulated at distinct, separate locations, but then became uniform 8 minutes after the onset of anaphase, concurrent with the recovery of nuclear import function. We further determined the timing of NPC assembly by immunofluorescence staining of cells fixed at precise times after the onset of anaphase. Taken together, these results showed that emerin, LBR, and several NPC components (RanBP2, Nup153, p62), but not Tpr, reconstitute around chromosomes very early in telophase prior to the recovery of nuclear import activity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We characterized four meiotic mutants of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe by live observation of nuclear movement. Nuclei were stained with either the DNA-specific fluorescent dye Hoechst 33342 or jellyfish green fluorescent protein (GFP) fused with the N-terminal portion of DNA polymerase alpha. We first followed nuclear dynamics in wild-type cells to determine the temporal sequence of meiotic events: nuclear fusion in the conjugated zygote is immediately followed by oscillatory nuclear movements that continue for 146 min; then, after coming to rest, the nucleus remains in the center of the cell for 26 min before the first meiotic division. Next we examined nuclear dynamics in four meiotic mutants: mei1 (also called mat2), mei4, dhc1, and taz1. Mei1 and mei4 both arrest during meiotic prophase; our observations, however, show that the timing of mei1 arrest is quite different from that of mei4: the mei1 mutant arrests after nuclear fusion but before starting the oscillatory nuclear movements, while the mei4 mutant arrests after the nucleus has completed the oscillatory movements but before the first meiotic division. We also show examples of the dynamic phenotypes of dhc1 and taz1, both of which complete meiosis but exhibit impaired nuclear movement and reduced frequencies of homologous recombination: the dhc1 mutant exhibits no nuclear movement after nuclear fusion, while the taz1 mutant exhibits severely impaired nuclear movement after nuclear fusion.