[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The meiotic recombination checkpoint is a signalling pathway that blocks meiotic progression when the repair of DNA breaks formed during recombination is delayed. In comparison to the signalling pathway itself, however, the molecular targets of the checkpoint that control meiotic progression are not well understood in metazoans. In Drosophila, activation of the meiotic checkpoint is known to prevent formation of the karyosome, a meiosis-specific organisation of chromosomes, but the molecular pathway by which this occurs remains to be identified. Here we show that the conserved kinase NHK-1 (Drosophila Vrk-1) is a crucial meiotic regulator controlled by the meiotic checkpoint. An nhk-1 mutation, whilst resulting in karyosome defects, does so independent of meiotic checkpoint activation. Rather, we find unrepaired DNA breaks formed during recombination suppress NHK-1 activity (inferred from the phosphorylation level of one of its substrates) through the meiotic checkpoint. Additionally DNA breaks induced by X-rays in cultured cells also suppress NHK-1 kinase activity. Unrepaired DNA breaks in oocytes also delay other NHK-1 dependent nuclear events, such as synaptonemal complex disassembly and condensin loading onto chromosomes. Therefore we propose that NHK-1 is a crucial regulator of meiosis and that the meiotic checkpoint suppresses NHK-1 activity to prevent oocyte nuclear reorganisation until DNA breaks are repaired.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The spatial and temporal control of histone modifications is crucial for precise regulation of chromatin structure and function. Here we report that phosphorylation of H2A at threonine 119 (T119) is enriched at centromere regions in Drosophila mitosis. We found that the Aurora B kinase complex is essential for this phosphorylation at centromeres, while Polo kinase is required to down-regulate H2A phosphorylation on chromosome arms in mitosis. Cyclin B degradation triggers loss of centromeric H2A phosphorylation at anaphase onset. Epistasis analysis indicated that Polo functions upstream of the H2A kinase NHK-1 but parallel to Aurora B. Therefore, multiple mitotic kinases work together to specify the spatial and temporal pattern of H2A T119 phosphorylation.
Experimental Cell Research 09/2007; 313(13):2780-5. · 3.56 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Conventional centrosomes are absent from the spindle in female meiosis in many species, but it is not clear how multiple chromosomes form one shared bipolar spindle without centrosomes. We identified a female sterile mutant in which each bivalent chromosome often forms a separate bipolar metaphase I spindle. Unlike wild type, prophase I chromosomes fail to form a single compact structure within the oocyte nucleus, although the integrity of metaphase I chromosomes appears to be normal. Molecular analysis indicates that the mutant is defective in the conserved kinase nucleosomal histone kinase-1 (NHK-1). Isolation of further alleles and RNA interference in S2 cells demonstrated that NHK-1 is also required for mitotic progression. NHK-1 itself is phosphorylated in mitosis and female meiosis, suggesting that this kinase is part of the regulatory system coordinating progression of mitosis and meiosis.
The Journal of Cell Biology 12/2005; 171(4):593-602. · 10.82 Impact Factor