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Concept: Sister chromatids


Fipronil (FP) is a phenylpyrazole pesticide developed by the transnational company, Rhône-Poulenc Agro in 1987. Data on the genotoxicity and toxicity of FP are rather inadequate. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the potential genotoxic activity of FP using the single-cell microgel electrophoresis or comet assay, sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs), and micronuclei (MN) in human peripheral blood lymphocytes. In addition, the cytokinesis block proliferation index (CBPI) and proliferation index (PRI) were measured for cytotoxicity. In this study, three different doses of FP were used (0.7, 0.3, 0.1 μg/mL). Mitomycin C (2 μg/mL) and hydrogen peroxide were used as positive controls for SCE MN test systems, and comet assay, respectively. FP induced a statistically significant increase in the MN and SCE frequency and DNA damage in a dose-dependent manner in human peripheral blood lymphocytes (p<0.01, p<0.05, for 0.7 and 0.3 μg/mL, respectively) compared with a negative control. There is no significant difference between 0.1 μg/mL and the negative control for MN frequency, but there is significant difference between all the doses of FP and negative control for SCE frequency, mitotic index, CBPI, and PRI values (p<0.01). Using the alkaline comet assay, we showed that all the doses of the FP induced DNA damage in human peripheral blood lymphocytes in vitro (p<0.05).

Concepts: Mutation, Statistics, Statistical significance, Addition, Cytotoxicity, Mitosis, Mutagen, Sister chromatids


The cyclin-dependent kinase CDK11(p58) is specifically expressed at G2/M phase. CDK11(p58) depletion leads to different cell cycle defects such as mitotic arrest, failure in centriole duplication and centrosome maturation, and premature sister chromatid separation. We report that upon CDK11 depletion, loss of sister chromatid cohesion occurs during mitosis but not during G2 phase. CDK11(p58) depletion prevents Bub1 and Shugoshin 1 recruitment but has no effect on the dimethylation of histone H3 lysine 4 at centromeres. We also report that a construct expressing a kinase dead version of CDK11(p58) fails to prevent CDK11 depletion-induced sister chromatid separation, showing that CDK11(p58) kinase activity is required for protection of sister chromatid cohesion at centromeres during mitosis. Thus, CDK11(p58) kinase activity appears to be involved in early events in the establishment of the centromere protection machinery.

Concepts: Histone, Chromosome, Cell cycle, Centromere, Mitosis, Meiosis, Chromatid, Sister chromatids


Chromosome segregation errors in mammalian oocytes compromise development and are particularly prevalent in older females, but the aging-related cellular changes that promote segregation errors remain unclear [1, 2]. Aging causes a loss of meiotic chromosome cohesion, which can explain premature disjunction of sister chromatids [3-7], but why intact sister pairs should missegregate in meiosis-I (termed non-disjunction) remains unknown. Here, we show that oocytes from naturally aged mice exhibit substantially altered spindle microtubule dynamics, resulting in transiently multipolar spindles that predispose the oocytes to kinetochore-microtubule attachment defects and missegregation of intact sister chromatid pairs. Using classical micromanipulation approaches, including reciprocally transferring nuclei between young and aged oocytes, we show that altered microtubule dynamics are not attributable to age-related chromatin changes. We therefore report that altered microtubule dynamics is a novel primary lesion contributing to age-related oocyte segregation errors. We propose that, whereas cohesion loss can explain premature sister separation, classical non-disjunction is instead explained by altered microtubule dynamics, leading to aberrant spindle assembly.

Concepts: Cell nucleus, Chromosome, Cell cycle, Centromere, Mitosis, Meiosis, Chromatid, Sister chromatids


Sister chromatid cohesion, mediated by the cohesin complex, is essential for faithful mitosis. Nevertheless, evidence suggests that the surveillance mechanism that governs mitotic fidelity, the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), is not robust enough to halt cell division when cohesion loss occurs prematurely. The mechanism behind this poor response is not properly understood. Using developing Drosophila brains, we show that full sister chromatid separation elicits a weak checkpoint response resulting in abnormal mitotic exit after a short delay. Quantitative live-cell imaging approaches combined with mathematical modeling indicate that weak SAC activation upon cohesion loss is caused by weak signal generation. This is further attenuated by several feedback loops in the mitotic signaling network. We propose that multiple feedback loops involving cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (Cdk1) gradually impair error-correction efficiency and accelerate mitotic exit upon premature loss of cohesion. Our findings explain how cohesion defects may escape SAC surveillance.

Concepts: Chromosome, Cell cycle, Mitosis, Meiosis, Kinetochore, Spindle apparatus, Chromatid, Sister chromatids


Production of healthy gametes requires a reductional meiosis I division in which replicated sister chromatids co-migrate, rather than separating as in mitosis or meiosis II. Fusion of sister kinetochores during meiosis I may underlie sister chromatid co-migration in diverse organisms, but direct evidence for such fusion has been lacking. Here, we studied native kinetochore particles isolated from yeast using laser trapping and quantitative fluorescence microscopy. Meiosis I kinetochores formed stronger attachments and carried more microtubule-binding elements than kinetochores isolated from cells in mitosis or meiosis II. The meiosis I-specific monopolin complex was both necessary and sufficient to drive these modifications. Thus, kinetochore fusion directs sister chromatid co-migration, a conserved feature of meiosis that is fundamental to Mendelian inheritance.

Concepts: Cell nucleus, Chromosome, Centromere, Mitosis, Meiosis, Kinetochore, Chromatid, Sister chromatids


Kinases and phosphatases work antagonistically to control the behaviour of individual substrate molecules. This can be incorrectly extrapolated to imply that they also work antagonistically on the signals or processes that these molecules control. In fact, in many situations kinases and phosphatases work together to positively drive signal responses. We explain how this ‘cooperativity’ is critical for setting the amplitude, localisation, timing, and shape of phosphorylation signals. We use mitosis to illustrate why these properties are important for controlling mitotic entry, sister chromatid cohesion, kinetochore-microtubule attachments, the spindle assembly checkpoint, mitotic spindle elongation, and mitotic exit. These examples provide a rationale to explain how complex signalling behaviour could rely on similar types of integration within many other biological processes.

Concepts: Cell cycle, Signal, Mitosis, Motor protein, Kinetochore, Spindle apparatus, Chromatid, Sister chromatids


Faithful chromosome segregation during mitosis requires that the kinetochores of all sister chromatids become stably connected to microtubules derived from opposite spindle poles. How stable chromosome bi-orientation is accomplished and coordinated with anaphase onset remains incompletely understood. Here we show that stable chromosome bi-orientation requires inner centromere localization of the non-enzymatic subunits of the chromosomal passenger complex (CPC) to maintain centromeric cohesion. Precise inner centromere localization of the CPC appears less relevant for Aurora B-dependent resolution of erroneous kinetochore-microtubule (KT-MT) attachments and for the stabilization of bi-oriented KT-MT attachments once sister chromatid cohesion is preserved via knock-down of WAPL. However, Aurora B inner centromere localization is essential for mitotic checkpoint silencing to allow spatial separation from its kinetochore substrate KNL1. Our data infer that the CPC is localized at the inner centromere to sustain centromere cohesion on bi-oriented chromosomes and to coordinate mitotic checkpoint silencing with chromosome bi-orientation.

Concepts: Chromosome, Cell cycle, Centromere, Mitosis, Meiosis, Metaphase, Chromatid, Sister chromatids


Cullin-RING E3 ligases (CRLs) control broad range of biological processes by ubiquitinating numerous cellular substrates. However, role of CRL E3 ligases in chromatid cohesion is unknown. In this study, we identified a new CRL type E3 ligase (designated as CRL7SMU1complex) that has an essential role in maintenance of chromatid cohesion. We demonstrate that SMU1, DDB1, CUL7 and RNF40 as integral components of this complex. SMU1 by acting as a substrate recognition module, binds to H2B and mediates monoubiquitination at K120 site through CRL7SMU1E3 ligase complex. Depletion of CRL7SMU1leads to loss of H2B ubiquitination at SMC1a locus and thus subsequently compromised SMC1a expression in cells. Knock down of CRL7SMU1components or loss of H2B ubiquitination leads to defective sister chromatid cohesion, which is rescued by restoration of SMC1a expression. Together, our results unveil an important role of CRL7SMU1E3 ligase in promoting H2B ubiquitination for maintenance of sister chromatid cohesion during mitosis.

Concepts: Gene, Cell nucleus, Enzyme, Chromosome, Mitosis, Proteasome, Knockout, Sister chromatids


Satellite I RNA, a noncoding (nc)RNA transcribed from repetitive regions in human centromeres, binds to Aurora kinase B and forms a ncRNP complex required for chromosome segregation. To examine its function in this process, we purified satellite I ncRNP complex from nuclear extracts prepared from asynchronized or mitotic (M) phase-arrested HeLa cells and then carried out LC/MS to identify proteins bound to satellite I RNA. RBMX (RNA-binding motif protein, X-linked), which was isolated from M phase-arrested cells, was selected for further characterization. We found that RBMX associates with satellite I RNA only during M phase. Knockdown of RBMX induced premature separation of sister chromatid cohesion and abnormal nuclear division. Likewise, knockdown of satellite I RNA also caused premature separation of sister chromatids during M phase. The amounts of RBMX and Sororin, a cohesion regulator, were reduced in satellite I RNA-depleted cells. These results suggest that satellite I RNA plays a role in stabilizing RBMX and Sororin in the ncRNP complex to maintain proper sister chromatid cohesion.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Chromosome, Centromere, Mitosis, Meiosis, Chromatid, Sister chromatids


Mitosis, the most dramatic event in the cell cycle, involves the reorganization of virtually all cellular components. Antimitotic agents are useful for dissecting the mechanism of this reorganization. Previously, we found that the small molecule CS1 accumulates cells in G2/M phase [1], but the mechanism of its action remains unknown.

Concepts: Cell nucleus, Cell division, Chromosome, Cell culture, Cell cycle, Mitosis, Binary fission, Sister chromatids