Cell Biology and BiophysicsEllenberg Group
Complete kinetochore tracking reveals error-prone homologous chromosome biorientation in mammalian oocytes.
Kitajima, T.S., Ohsugi, M. & Ellenberg, J.
Cell. 2011 Aug 19;146(4):568-81. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.07.031.
Chromosomes must establish stable biorientation prior to anaphase to achieve faithful segregation during cell division. The detailed process by which chromosomes are bioriented and how biorientation is coordinated with spindle assembly and chromosome congression remain unclear. Here, we provide complete 3D kinetochore-tracking datasets throughout cell division by high-resolution imaging of meiosis I in live mouse oocytes. We show that in acentrosomal oocytes, chromosome congression forms an intermediate chromosome configuration, the prometaphase belt, which precedes biorientation. Chromosomes then invade the elongating spindle center to form the metaphase plate and start biorienting. Close to 90% of all chromosomes undergo one or more rounds of error correction of their kinetochore-microtubule attachments before achieving correct biorientation. This process depends on Aurora kinase activity. Our analysis reveals the error-prone nature of homologous chromosome biorientation, providing a possible explanation for the high incidence of aneuploid eggs observed in mammals, including humans.
Live imaging of single nuclear pores reveals unique assembly kinetics and mechanism in interphase.
Dultz, E. & Ellenberg, J.
J Cell Biol. 2010 Oct 4;191(1):15-22. Epub 2010 Sep 27.
In metazoa, new nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) form at two different cell cycle stages: at the end of mitosis concomitant with the reformation of the nuclear envelope and during interphase. However, the mechanisms of these assembly processes may differ. In this study, we apply high resolution live cell microscopy to analyze the dynamics of single NPCs in living mammalian cells during interphase. We show that nuclear growth and NPC assembly are correlated and occur at a constant rate throughout interphase. By analyzing the kinetics of individual NPC assembly events, we demonstrate that they are initiated by slow accumulation of the membrane nucleoporin Pom121 followed by the more rapid association of the soluble NPC subcomplex Nup107-160. This inverse order of recruitment and the overall much slower kinetics compared with postmitotic NPC assembly support the conclusion that the two processes occur by distinct molecular mechanisms.
Phenotypic profiling of the human genome by time-lapse microscopy reveals cell division genes.
Neumann, B., Walter, T., Heriche, J.K., Bulkescher, J., Erfle, H., Conrad, C., Rogers, P., Poser, I., Held, M., Liebel, U., Cetin, C., Sieckmann, F., Pau, G., Kabbe, R., Wünsche, A., Satagopam, V., Schmitz, M.H., Chapuis, C., Gerlich, D.W., Schneider, R., Eils, R., Huber, W., Peters, J.M., Hyman, A.A., Durbin, R., Pepperkok, R. & Ellenberg, J.
Nature. 2010 Apr 1;464(7289):721-7.
Despite our rapidly growing knowledge about the human genome, we do not know all of the genes required for some of the most basic functions of life. To start to fill this gap we developed a high-throughput phenotypic screening platform combining potent gene silencing by RNA interference, time-lapse microscopy and computational image processing. We carried out a genome-wide phenotypic profiling of each of the approximately 21,000 human protein-coding genes by two-day live imaging of fluorescently labelled chromosomes. Phenotypes were scored quantitatively by computational image processing, which allowed us to identify hundreds of human genes involved in diverse biological functions including cell division, migration and survival. As part of the Mitocheck consortium, this study provides an in-depth analysis of cell division phenotypes and makes the entire high-content data set available as a resource to the community.
A new model for asymmetric spindle positioning in mouse oocytes.
Schuh, M. & Ellenberg, J.
Curr Biol. 2008 Dec 23;18(24):1986-92. Epub 2008 Dec 8.
An oocyte matures into an egg by extruding half of the chromosomes in a small polar body. This extremely asymmetric division enables the oocyte to retain sufficient storage material for the development of the embryo after fertilization. To divide asymmetrically, mammalian oocytes relocate the spindle from their center to the cortex. In all mammalian species analyzed so far, including human, mouse, cow, pig, and hamster, spindle relocation depends on filamentous actin (F-actin). However, even though spindle relocation is essential for fertility, the involved F-actin structures and the mechanism by which they relocate the spindle are unknown. Here we show in live mouse oocytes that spindle relocation requires a continuously reorganizing cytoplasmic actin network nucleated by Formin-2 (Fmn2). We found that the spindle poles were enriched in activated myosin and pulled on this network. Inhibition of myosin activation by myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) stopped pulling and spindle relocation, indicating that myosin pulling creates the force that drives spindle movement. Based on these results, we propose the first mechanistic model for asymmetric spindle positioning in mammalian oocytes and validate five of its key predictions experimentally.