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In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (15)

Articles by Ingrid Brust-Mascher in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

Microinjection Techniques for Studying Mitosis in the Drosophila melanogaster Syncytial Embryo

1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Davis


JoVE 1382

This protocol describes the use of microinjection and high resolution imaging in the Drosophila melanogaster syncytial embryo to study mitosis.

Other articles by Ingrid Brust-Mascher on PubMed

Microtubule Flux and Sliding in Mitotic Spindles of Drosophila Embryos

We proposed that spindle morphogenesis in Drosophila embryos involves progression through four transient isometric structures in which a constant spacing of the spindle poles is maintained by a balance of forces generated by multiple microtubule (MT) motors and that tipping this balance drives pole-pole separation. Here we used fluorescent speckle microscopy to evaluate the influence of MT dynamics on the isometric state that persists through metaphase and anaphase A and on pole-pole separation in anaphase B. During metaphase and anaphase A, fluorescent punctae on kinetochore and interpolar MTs flux toward the poles at 0.03 microm/s, too slow to drive chromatid-to-pole motion at 0.11 microm/s, and during anaphase B, fluorescent punctae on interpolar MTs move away from the spindle equator at the same rate as the poles, consistent with MT-MT sliding. Loss of Ncd, a candidate flux motor or brake, did not affect flux in the metaphase/anaphase A isometric state or MT sliding in anaphase B but decreased the duration of the isometric state. Our results suggest that, throughout this isometric state, an outward force exerted on the spindle poles by MT sliding motors is balanced by flux, and that suppression of flux could tip the balance of forces at the onset of anaphase B, allowing MT sliding and polymerization to push the poles apart.

Cell Division

In creating the mitotic spindle and the contractile ring, natural selection has engineered fascinating precision machines whose movements depend upon forces generated by ensembles of cytoskeletal proteins. These machines segregate chromosomes and divide the cell with high fidelity. Current research on the mechanisms and regulation of spindle morphogenesis, chromosome motility and cytokinesis emphasizes how ensembles of dynamic cytoskeletal polymers and multiple motors cooperate to generate the forces that guide the cell through mitosis and cytokinesis.

The Chromokinesin, KLP3A, Dives Mitotic Spindle Pole Separation During Prometaphase and Anaphase and Facilitates Chromatid Motility

Mitosis requires the concerted activities of multiple microtubule (MT)-based motor proteins. Here we examined the contribution of the chromokinesin, KLP3A, to mitotic spindle morphogenesis and chromosome movements in Drosophila embryos and cultured S2 cells. By immunofluorescence, KLP3A associates with nonfibrous punctae that concentrate in nuclei and display MT-dependent associations with spindles. These punctae concentrate in indistinct domains associated with chromosomes and central spindles and form distinct bands associated with telophase midbodies. The functional disruption of KLP3A by antibodies or dominant negative proteins in embryos, or by RNA interference (RNAi) in S2 cells, does not block mitosis but produces defects in mitotic spindles. Time-lapse confocal observations of mitosis in living embryos reveal that KLP3A inhibition disrupts the organization of interpolar (ip) MTs and produces short spindles. Kinetic analysis suggests that KLP3A contributes to spindle pole separation during the prometaphase-to-metaphase transition (when it antagonizes Ncd) and anaphase B, to normal rates of chromatid motility during anaphase A, and to the proper spacing of daughter nuclei during telophase. We propose that KLP3A acts on MTs associated with chromosome arms and the central spindle to organize ipMT bundles, to drive spindle pole separation and to facilitate chromatid motility.

Two Anterograde Intraflagellar Transport Motors Cooperate to Build Sensory Cilia on C. Elegans Neurons

Cilia have diverse roles in motility and sensory reception and their dysfunction contributes to cilia-related diseases. Assembly and maintenance of cilia depends on the intraflagellar transport (IFT) of axoneme, membrane, matrix and signalling proteins to appropriate destinations within the organelle. In the current model, these diverse cargo proteins bind to multiple sites on macromolecular IFT particles, which are moved by a single anterograde IFT motor, kinesin-II, from the ciliary base to its distal tip, where cargo-unloading occurs. Here, we describe the observation of fluorescent IFT motors and IFT particles moving along distinct domains within sensory cilia of wild-type and IFT-motor-mutant Caenorhabditis elegans. We show that two anterograde IFT motor holoenzymes, kinesin-II and Osm-3-kinesin, cooperate in a surprising way to control two pathways of IFT that build distinct parts of cilia. Instead of each motor independently moving its own specific cargo to a distinct destination, the two motors function redundantly to transport IFT particles along doublet microtubules adjacent to the transition zone to form the axoneme middle segment. Next, Osm-3-kinesin alone transports IFT particles along the distal singlet microtubules to stabilize the distal segment. Thus, the subtle coordinate activity of these IFT motors creates two sequential transport pathways.

Mitotic Spindle Dynamics in Drosophila

Mitosis, the process by which the replicated chromosomes are segregated equally into daughter cells, has been studied for over a century. Drosophila melanogaster is an ideal organism for this research. Drosophila embryos are well suited to image mitosis, because during cycles 10-13 nuclei divide rapidly at the surface of the embryo, but mitotic cells during larval stages and spermatocytes are also used for the study of mitosis. Drosophila can be easily maintained, many mutant stocks exist, and transgenic flies expressing mutated or fluorescently labeled proteins can be made. In addition, the genome has been completed and RNA interference can be used in Drosophila tissue culture cells. Here, we review our current understanding of spindle dynamics, looking at the experiments and quantitative modeling on which it is based. Many molecular players in the Drosophila mitotic spindle are similar to those in mammalian spindles, so findings in Drosophila can be extended to other organisms.

Quantitative Analysis of an Anaphase B Switch: Predicted Role for a Microtubule Catastrophe Gradient

Anaphase B in Drosophila embryos is initiated by the inhibition of microtubule (MT) depolymerization at spindle poles, which allows outwardly sliding interpolar (ip) MTs to drive pole-pole separation. Using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching, we observed that MTs throughout the preanaphase B spindle are very dynamic and display complete recovery of fluorescence, but during anaphase B, MTs proximal to the poles stabilize and therefore display lower recovery than those elsewhere. Fluorescence microscopy of the MT tip tracker EB1 revealed that growing MT plus ends localize throughout the preanaphase B spindle but concentrate in the overlap region of interpolar MTs (ipMTs) at anaphase B onset. None of these changes occurred in the presence of nondegradable cyclin B. Modeling suggests that they depend on the establishment of a spatial gradient of MT plus-end catastrophe frequencies, decreasing toward the equator. The resulting redistribution of ipMT plus ends to the overlap zone, together with the suppression of minus-end depolymerization at the poles, could constitute a mechanical switch that initiates spindle elongation.

Dynamic Partitioning of Mitotic Kinesin-5 Cross-linkers Between Microtubule-bound and Freely Diffusing States

The dynamic behavior of homotetrameric kinesin-5 during mitosis is poorly understood. Kinesin-5 may function only by binding, cross-linking, and sliding adjacent spindle microtubules (MTs), or, alternatively, it may bind to a stable "spindle matrix" to generate mitotic movements. We created transgenic Drosophila melanogaster expressing fluorescent kinesin-5, KLP61F-GFP, in a klp61f mutant background, where it rescues mitosis and viability. KLP61F-GFP localizes to interpolar MT bundles, half spindles, and asters, and is enriched around spindle poles. In fluorescence recovery after photobleaching experiments, KLP61F-GFP displays dynamic mobility similar to tubulin, which is inconsistent with a substantial static pool of kinesin-5. The data conform to a reaction-diffusion model in which most KLP61F is bound to spindle MTs, with the remainder diffusing freely. KLP61F appears to transiently bind MTs, moving short distances along them before detaching. Thus, kinesin-5 motors can function by cross-linking and sliding adjacent spindle MTs without the need for a static spindle matrix.

Kinesin-5-dependent Poleward Flux and Spindle Length Control in Drosophila Embryo Mitosis

We used antibody microinjection and genetic manipulations to dissect the various roles of the homotetrameric kinesin-5, KLP61F, in astral, centrosome-controlled Drosophila embryo spindles and to test the hypothesis that it slides apart interpolar (ip) microtubules (MT), thereby controlling poleward flux and spindle length. In wild-type and Ncd null mutant embryos, anti-KLP61F dissociated the motor from spindles, producing a spatial gradient in the KLP61F content of different spindles, which was visible in KLP61F-GFP transgenic embryos. The resulting mitotic defects, supported by gene dosage experiments and time-lapse microscopy of living klp61f mutants, reveal that, after NEB, KLP61F drives persistent MT bundling and the outward sliding of antiparallel MTs, thereby contributing to several processes that all appear insensitive to cortical disruption. KLP61F activity contributes to the poleward flux of both ipMTs and kinetochore MTs and to the length of the metaphase spindle. KLP61F activity maintains the prometaphase spindle by antagonizing Ncd and another unknown force-generator and drives anaphase B, although the rate of spindle elongation is relatively insensitive to the motor's concentration. Finally, KLP61F activity contributes to normal chromosome congression, kinetochore spacing, and anaphase A rates. Thus, a KLP61F-driven sliding filament mechanism contributes to multiple aspects of mitosis in this system.

Prometaphase Spindle Maintenance by an Antagonistic Motor-dependent Force Balance Made Robust by a Disassembling Lamin-B Envelope

We tested the classical hypothesis that astral, prometaphase bipolar mitotic spindles are maintained by balanced outward and inward forces exerted on spindle poles by kinesin-5 and -14 using modeling of in vitro and in vivo data from Drosophila melanogaster embryos. Throughout prometaphase, puncta of both motors aligned on interpolar microtubules (MTs [ipMTs]), and motor perturbation changed spindle length, as predicted. Competitive motility of purified kinesin-5 and -14 was well described by a stochastic, opposing power stroke model incorporating motor kinetics and load-dependent detachment. Motor parameters from this model were applied to a new stochastic force-balance model for prometaphase spindles, providing a good fit to data from embryos. Maintenance of virtual spindles required dynamic ipMTs and a narrow range of kinesin-5 to kinesin-14 ratios matching that found in embryos. Functional perturbation and modeling suggest that this range can be extended significantly by a disassembling lamin-B envelope that surrounds the prometaphase spindle and augments the finely tuned, antagonistic kinesin force balance to maintain robust prometaphase spindles as MTs assemble and chromosomes are pushed to the equator.

A Mitotic Kinesin-6, Pav-KLP, Mediates Interdependent Cortical Reorganization and Spindle Dynamics in Drosophila Embryos

We investigated the role of Pav-KLP, a kinesin-6, in the coordination of spindle and cortical dynamics during mitosis in Drosophila embryos. In vitro, Pav-KLP behaves as a dimer. In vivo, it localizes to mitotic spindles and furrows. Inhibition of Pav-KLP causes defects in both spindle dynamics and furrow ingression, as well as causing changes in the distribution of actin and vesicles. Thus, Pav-KLP stabilizes the spindle by crosslinking interpolar microtubule bundles and contributes to actin furrow formation possibly by transporting membrane vesicles, actin and/or actin regulatory molecules along astral microtubules. Modeling suggests that furrow ingression during cellularization depends on: (1) a Pav-KLP-dependent force driving an initial slow stage of ingression; and (2) the subsequent Pav-KLP-driven transport of actin- and membrane-containing vesicles to the furrow during a fast stage of ingression. We hypothesize that Pav-KLP is a multifunctional mitotic motor that contributes both to bundling of interpolar microtubules, thus stabilizing the spindle, and to a biphasic mechanism of furrow ingression by pulling down the furrow and transporting vesicles that deliver new material to the descending furrow.

Coupling Between Microtubule Sliding, Plus-end Growth and Spindle Length Revealed by Kinesin-8 Depletion

Mitotic spindle length control requires coordination between microtubule (MT) dynamics and motor-generated forces. To investigate how MT plus-end polymerization contributes to spindle length in Drosophila embryos, we studied the dynamics of the MT plus-end depolymerase, kinesin-8, and the effects of kinesin-8 inhibition using mutants and antibody microinjection. As expected, kinesin-8 was found to contribute to anaphase A. Furthermore, kinesin-8 depletion caused: (i) excessive polymerization of interpolar (ip) MT plus ends, which "overgrow" to penetrate distal half spindles; (ii) an increase in the poleward ipMT sliding rate that is coupled to MT plus-end polymerization; (iii) premature spindle elongation during metaphase/anaphase A; and (iv) an increase in the anaphase B spindle elongation rate which correlates linearly with the MT sliding rate. This is best explained by a revised "ipMT sliding/minus-end depolymerization" model for spindle length control which incorporates a coupling between ipMT plus end dynamics and the outward ipMT sliding that drives poleward flux and spindle elongation.

Anaphase B Spindle Dynamics in Drosophila S2 Cells: Comparison with Embryo Spindles

In the Drosophila melanogaster syncytial blastoderm stage embryo anaphase B is initiated by a cell cycle switch in which the suppression of microtubule minus end depolymerization and spatial reorganization of the plus ends of outwardly sliding interpolar microtubules triggers spindle elongation. RNA interference in Drosophila cultured S2 cells may present a useful tool for identifying novel components of this switch, but given the diversity of spindle design, it is important to first determine the extent of conservation of the mechanism of anaphase B in the two systems.

Actomyosin-dependent Cortical Dynamics Contributes to the Prophase Force-balance in the Early Drosophila Embryo

The assembly of the Drosophila embryo mitotic spindle during prophase depends upon a balance of outward forces generated by cortical dynein and inward forces generated by kinesin-14 and nuclear elasticity. Myosin II is known to contribute to the dynamics of the cell cortex but how this influences the prophase force-balance is unclear.

Intraflagellar Transport Delivers Tubulin Isotypes to Sensory Cilium Middle and Distal Segments

Sensory cilia are assembled and maintained by kinesin-2-dependent intraflagellar transport (IFT). We investigated whether two Caenorhabditis elegans α- and β-tubulin isotypes, identified through mutants that lack their cilium distal segments, are delivered to their assembly sites by IFT. Mutations in conserved residues in both tubulins destabilize distal singlet microtubules. One isotype, TBB-4, assembles into microtubules at the tips of the axoneme core and distal segments, where the microtubule tip tracker EB1 is found, and localizes all along the cilium, whereas the other, TBA-5, concentrates in distal singlets. IFT assays, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching analysis and modelling indicate that the continual transport of sub-stoichiometric numbers of these tubulin subunits by the IFT machinery can maintain sensory cilia at their steady-state length.

Mitotic Motors and Chromosome Segregation: the Mechanism of Anaphase B

Anaphase B spindle elongation plays an important role in chromosome segregation. In the present paper, we discuss our model for anaphase B in Drosophila syncytial embryos, in which spindle elongation depends on an ip (interpolar) MT (microtubule) sliding filament mechanism generated by homotetrameric kinesin-5 motors acting in concert with poleward ipMT flux, which acts as an 'on/off' switch. Specifically, the pre-anaphase B spindle is maintained at a steady-state length by the balance between ipMT sliding and ipMT depolymerization at spindle poles, producing poleward flux. Cyclin B degradation at anaphase B onset triggers: (i) an MT catastrophe gradient causing ipMT plus ends to invade the overlap zone where ipMT sliding forces are generated; and (ii) the inhibition of ipMT minus-end depolymerization so flux is turned 'off', tipping the balance of forces to allow outward ipMT sliding to push apart the spindle poles. We briefly comment on the relationship of this model to anaphase B in other systems.

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