Identification and analysis of novel mitotic inhibitors of the Caenorhabditis elegans Aurora B kinase
Proper execution of mitosis requires the accurate segregation of replicated DNA into each daughter cell. The highly conserved mitotic kinase AIR-2/Aurora B is a dynamic protein that interacts with subsets of cofactors and substrates to coordinate chromosome segregation and cytokinesis in Caenorhabdiris elegans. To identify components of the AIR-2 regulatory pathway, a genome-wide RNAi-based screen for suppressors of air-2 temperature-sensitive mutant lethality was conducted. Here, I present evidence that two classes of suppressors identified in this screen are bona fide regulators of the AIR-2 kinase. The strongest suppressor cdc-48.3, encodes an Afg2/Spaf-related Cdc48-like AAA+ ATPase that regulates AIR-2 kinase activity and stability during C. elegans embryogenesis. Loss of CDC-48.3 suppresses the lethality of air-2 mutant embryos, marked by the restoration of the dynamic behavior of AIR-2 and rescue of chromosome segregation and cytokinesis defects. Loss of CDC-48.3 leads to mitotic delays and abnormal accumulation of AIR-2 during late telophase/mitotic exit. In addition, AIR-2 kinase activity is significantly upregulated from metaphase through mitotic exit in CDC-48.3 depleted embryos. Inhibition of the AIR-2 kinase is dependent on (1) a direct physical interaction between CDC-48.3 and AIR-2, and (2) CDC-48.3 ATPase activity. Importantly, the increase in AIR-2 kinase activity does not correlate with the stabilization of AIR-2 in late mitosis. Hence, CDC-48.3 is a bi-functional inhibitor of AIR-2 that is likely to act via distinct mechanisms. The second class of suppressors consists of psy-2/smk-1 and pph-4.1, which encode two components of the conserved PP4 phosphatase complex that is essential for spindle assembly, chromosome segregation, and overall mitotic progression. AIR-2 and its substrates are likely to be targets of this complex since mitotic AIR-2 kinase activity is significantly increased during mitosis when either PSY-2/SMK-1 or PPH-4.l is depleted. Altogether, this study demonstrates that during the C. elegans embryonic cell cycle, regulators including the CDC-48.3 ATPase and PP4 phosphatase complex interact with and control the kinase activity, targeting behavior and protein stability of the Aurora B kinase to ensure accurate and timely progression of mitosis.
Heallen, Todd Ryan, "Identification and analysis of novel mitotic inhibitors of the Caenorhabditis elegans Aurora B kinase" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3305161.