Debora Keller

Imperial College London, Londinium, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (7)83.78 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: SAS-6 proteins are thought to impart the ninefold symmetry of centrioles, but the mechanisms by which their assembly occurs within cells remain elusive. In this paper, we provide evidence that the N-terminal, coiled-coil, and C-terminal domains of HsSAS-6 are each required for procentriole formation in human cells. Moreover, the coiled coil is necessary and sufficient to mediate HsSAS-6 centrosomal targeting. High-resolution imaging reveals that GFP-tagged HsSAS-6 variants localize in a torus around the base of the parental centriole before S phase, perhaps indicative of an initial loading platform. Moreover, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching analysis demonstrates that HsSAS-6 is immobilized progressively at centrosomes during cell cycle progression. Using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy and three-dimensional stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy, we uncover that HsSAS-6 is present in the cytoplasm primarily as a homodimer and that its oligomerization into a ninefold symmetrical ring occurs at centrioles. Together, our findings lead us to propose a mechanism whereby HsSAS-6 homodimers are targeted to centrosomes where the local environment and high concentration of HsSAS-6 promote oligomerization, thus initiating procentriole formation.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · The Journal of Cell Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Super-resolution imaging methods have revolutionized fluorescence microscopy by revealing the nanoscale organization of labeled proteins. In particular, single-molecule methods such as Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM) provide resolutions down to a few tens of nanometers by exploiting the cycling of dyes between fluorescent and non-fluorescent states to obtain a sparse population of emitters and precisely localizing them individually. This cycling of dyes is commonly induced by adding different chemicals, which are combined to create a STORM buffer. Despite their importance, the composition of these buffers has scarcely evolved since they were first introduced, fundamentally limiting what can be resolved with STORM. By identifying a new chemical suitable for STORM and optimizing the buffer composition for Alexa-647, we significantly increased the number of photons emitted per cycle by each dye, providing a simple means to enhance the resolution of STORM independently of the optical setup used. Using this buffer to perform 3D-STORM on biological samples, we obtained images with better than 10 nanometer lateral and 30 nanometer axial resolution.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: 3D STORM is one of the leading methods for super-resolution imaging, with resolution down to 10 nm in the lateral direction, and 30-50 nm in the axial direction. However, there is one important requirement to perform this type of imaging: making dye molecules blink. This usually relies on the utilization of complex buffers, containing different chemicals and sensitive enzymatic systems, limiting the reproducibility of the method. We report here that the commercial mounting medium Vectashield can be used for STORM of Alexa-647, and yields images comparable or superior to those obtained with more complex buffers, especially for 3D imaging. We expect that this advance will promote the versatile utilization of 3D STORM by removing one of its entry barriers, as well as provide a more reproducible way to compare optical setups and data processing algorithms.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Biomedical Optics Express
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with MCPH (autosomal recessive primary microcephaly) exhibit impaired brain development, presumably due to the compromised function of neuronal progenitors. Seven MCPH loci have been identified, including one that encodes centrosome protein 4.1 associated protein (CPAP; also known as centromere protein J, CENPJ). CPAP is a large coiled-coil protein enriched at the centrosome, a structure that comprises two centrioles and surrounding pericentriolar material (PCM). CPAP depletion impairs centriole formation, whereas CPAP overexpression results in overly long centrioles. The mechanisms by which CPAP MCPH patient mutations affect brain development are not clear. Here, we identify CPAP protein domains crucial for its centriolar localization, as well as for the elongation and the formation of centrioles. Furthermore, we demonstrate that conditions that resemble CPAP MCPH patient mutations compromise centriole formation in tissue culture cells. Using adhesive micropatterns, we reveal that such defects correlate with a randomization of spindle position. Moreover, we demonstrate that the MCPH protein SCL/TAL1 interrupting locus (STIL) is also essential for centriole formation and for proper spindle position. Our findings are compatible with the notion that mutations in CPAP and STIL cause MCPH because of aberrant spindle positioning in progenitor cells during brain development.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Journal of Cell Science
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    ABSTRACT: Deregulated centrosome duplication can result in genetic instability and contribute to tumorigenesis. Here, we show that centrosome duplication is regulated by the activity of an E3-ubiquitin ligase that employs the F-box protein FBXW5 (ref. 3) as its targeting subunit. Depletion of endogenous FBXW5 or overexpression of an F-box-deleted mutant version results in centrosome overduplication and formation of multipolar spindles. We identify the centriolar protein HsSAS-6 (refs 4,5) as a critical substrate of the SCF-FBXW5 complex. FBXW5 binds HsSAS-6 and promotes its ubiquitylation in vivo. The activity of SCF-FBXW5 is in turn negatively regulated by Polo-like kinase 4 (PLK4), which phosphorylates FBXW5 at Ser 151 to suppress its ability to ubiquitylate HsSAS-6. FBXW5 is a cell-cycle-regulated protein with expression levels peaking at the G1/S transition. We show that FBXW5 levels are controlled by the anaphase-promoting (APC/C) complex, which targets FBXW5 for degradation during mitosis and G1, thereby helping to reset the centrosome duplication machinery. In summary, we show that a cell-cycle-regulated SCF complex is regulated by the kinase PLK4, and that this in turn restricts centrosome re-duplication through degradation of the centriolar protein HsSAS-6.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2011 · Nature Cell Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Centrosome duplication occurs once per cell cycle and ensures that the two resulting centrosomes assemble a bipolar mitotic spindle. Centriole formation is fundamental for centrosome duplication. In Caenorhabditis elegans, the evolutionarily conserved proteins SPD-2, ZYG-1, SAS-6, SAS-5, and SAS-4 are essential for centriole formation, but how they function is not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that Protein Phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is also critical for centriole formation in C. elegans embryos. We find that PP2A subunits genetically and physically interact with the SAS-5/SAS-6 complex. Furthermore, we show that PP2A-mediated dephosphorylation promotes centriolar targeting of SAS-5 and ensures SAS-6 delivery to the site of centriole assembly. We find that PP2A is similarly needed for the presence of HsSAS-6 at centrioles and for centriole formation in human cells. These findings lead us to propose that PP2A-mediated loading of SAS-6 proteins is critical at the onset of centriole formation.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2011 · Developmental Cell
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    ABSTRACT: The centriole, and the related basal body, is an ancient organelle characterized by a universal 9-fold radial symmetry and is critical for generating cilia, flagella, and centrosomes. The mechanisms directing centriole formation are incompletely understood and represent a fundamental open question in biology. Here, we demonstrate that the centriolar protein SAS-6 forms rod-shaped homodimers that interact through their N-terminal domains to form oligomers. We establish that such oligomerization is essential for centriole formation in C. elegans and human cells. We further generate a structural model of the related protein Bld12p from C. reinhardtii, in which nine homodimers assemble into a ring from which nine coiled-coil rods radiate outward. Moreover, we demonstrate that recombinant Bld12p self-assembles into structures akin to the central hub of the cartwheel, which serves as a scaffold for centriole formation. Overall, our findings establish a structural basis for the universal 9-fold symmetry of centrioles.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · Cell