Theses Doctoral

Molecular Dissection of Nde1's Role in Mitosis

Wynne, Caitlin Lazar

Upon entry into G2 and mitosis (G2/M), dynein dissociates from its interphase cargos and forms mitotic-specific interactions that direct dynein to the nuclear envelope, cell-cortex, kinetochores, and spindle poles to ensure equal segregation of genetic material to the two daughter cells. Although the need for precise regulation of dynein’s activity during mitosis is clear, questions remain about the mechanisms that govern the cell-cycle dependent dynein interactions. Frequently dynein cofactors provide platforms for regulating dynein activity either by directing dynein to specific sites of action or by tuning the motor activity of the dynein motor. In particular the dynein cofactor Nde1 may play a key role in defining dynein’s mitotic activity. During interphase, Nde1 is involved in the dynein-dependent processes of Golgi positioning and minus-end directed lysosome transport (Lam et al., 2009; Yi et al., 2011), but as the cell progresses into G2/M, Nde1 adopts mitotic specific interactions at the nuclear envelope and kinetochores. It is unknown how Nde1’s cell-cycle specific localization is regulated and how, if at all, Nde1 is ultimately able to influence dynein’s recruitment and activity at each of these sites. One candidate is cell-cycle specific phosphorylation of Nde1 by a G2/mitotic specific kinase, cyclinB/Cdk1 (Alkurayaet al. 2011). To study the potential function of the phosphorylation by Cdk1, we assayed the localization of GFP Cdk1Nde1 phospho-mimetic and phospho-mutant constructs at the NE and kinetochores. We demonstrate Cdk1 phosphorylation of Nde1 is required for Nde1 localization to both the NE and to the kinetochore, and also the phosphorylation of Nde1 directly activates physical interactions between Nde1 and its nuclear envelope and the kinetochore-binding partner, CENP-F. Furthermore, physiological studies of Nde1 phosphorylation constructs show that over-expression of GFP Nde1 phospho-mutant causes a significant delay in time from NEBD to anaphase onset, specifically demonstrating a late prometaphase/metaphase arrest. Therefore, we conclude Cdk1 phosphorylation of Nde1 not only regulates its localization to the nuclear envelope and kinetochore but also plays an important functional role in Nde1’s mitotic activity in vivo.
In addition to understanding how the cell cycle specific activity of Nde1 is regulated, to fully comprehend how dynein functions during mitosis it is necessary to understand how Nde1 is able to modulate dynein’s activity. Nde1 is typically believed to act as a bridge between dynein and specific cellular cargo by physically interacting both with the cargo and dynein/Lis1 to specify the sites of dynein’s activity. Therefore, to understand how Nde1 functions with Lis1 and dynein during mitosis, we created point mutations in the N-terminal coiled-coil domain that specifically disrupted either the Nde1-Lis1 interaction or the Nde1-dynein interaction. We find that disrupting the Nde1-dynein interaction has more severe phenotypic effects compared to disrupting the Nde1-Lis1 interaction: expression of GFP Nde1 del dynein mutant caused a significant delay in anaphase onset while GFP Nde1 del Lis1 only caused a slight increase in cell cycle duration before anaphase onset. Phenotypic analysis suggests that the effects of abolishing the Nde1-dynein interaction on mitotic progression may be due to defects in maintaining kinetochore-microtubule stability during metaphase. Nde1 plays a role in this dynein-dependent mitotic activity through recruitment of a subfraction of dynein to the kinetochore by Nde1’s coiled-coil domain. While the phenotypic effect of removing the Lis1-Nde1 interaction is less severe than removing the dynein-Nde1 interaction, the interaction between Lis1 and Nde1 plays an important role in Nde1’s mitotic behavior as it is affects Nde1’s localization at the kinetochore, specifically by influencing Nde’1 interaction with its kinetochore recruitment partner, CENP-F.
The entirety of this work demonstrates that Nde1 acts as a link between cellular cargo and dynein behavior as phospho-regulation of Nde1 throughout the cell cycle allows Nde1’s to interact with unique mitotic cargoes and influence the recruitment and activity of dynein at the kinetochore.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Pathology and Cell Biology
Thesis Advisors
Vallee, Richard
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 7, 2016