Tethering Sister Centromeres to Each Other Suggests the Spindle Checkpoint Detects Stretch within the Kinetochore
Nannas, Natalie J.
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CitationNannas, Natalie J., and Andrew W. Murray. 2014. “Tethering Sister Centromeres to Each Other Suggests the Spindle Checkpoint Detects Stretch within the Kinetochore.” PLoS Genetics 10 (8): e1004492. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004492. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1004492.
AbstractThe spindle checkpoint ensures that newly born cells receive one copy of each chromosome by preventing chromosomes from segregating until they are all correctly attached to the spindle. The checkpoint monitors tension to distinguish between correctly aligned chromosomes and those with both sisters attached to the same spindle pole. Tension arises when sister kinetochores attach to and are pulled toward opposite poles, stretching the chromatin around centromeres and elongating kinetochores. We distinguished between two hypotheses for where the checkpoint monitors tension: between the kinetochores, by detecting alterations in the distance between them, or by responding to changes in the structure of the kinetochore itself. To distinguish these models, we inhibited chromatin stretch by tethering sister chromatids together by binding a tetrameric form of the Lac repressor to arrays of the Lac operator located on either side of a centromere. Inhibiting chromatin stretch did not activate the spindle checkpoint; these cells entered anaphase at the same time as control cells that express a dimeric version of the Lac repressor, which cannot cross link chromatids, and cells whose checkpoint has been inactivated. There is no dominant checkpoint inhibition when sister kinetochores are held together: cells expressing the tetrameric Lac repressor still arrest in response to microtubule-depolymerizing drugs. Tethering chromatids together does not disrupt kinetochore function; chromosomes are successfully segregated to opposite poles of the spindle. Our results indicate that the spindle checkpoint does not monitor inter-kinetochore separation, thus supporting the hypothesis that tension is measured within the kinetochore.
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