We have identified a 227 kDa spindle- and centromere-associated protein in Parascaris, designated PUMA1 (Parascaris univalens mitotic apparatus), using a monoclonal antibody (mAb403) generated against Parascaris embryonic extracts. PUMA1 distribution was studied by immunofluorescence microscopy in mitotic and meiotic Parascaris cells, where centromere organization differs greatly. In mitosis, PUMA1 associates throughout cell division with the centrosomes and kinetochore-microtubules, and it concentrates at the continuous centromere region of the holocentric chromosomes. PUMA1 also localizes to the spindle mid-zone region during anaphase and at the midbody during telophase. In meiosis, PUMA1 associates with the centrosomes and with the discrete centromeric regions lacking kinetochore structures. The analysis of colchicine-treated embryos indicated that the association of PUMA1 with the centromeric region depends on microtubule integrity. mAb403 also recognizes spindle components in Drosophila. A series of overlapping cDNAs encoding the gene were isolated from a Parascaris embryonic expression library. Analysis of the nucleotide sequence identified an open reading frame capable of encoding a protein of 227 kDa. Analysis of the protein sequence indicated that PUMA1 is predicted to be a coiled-coil protein containing a large central alpha-helical domain flanked by nonhelical terminal domains. The structural features and cellular distribution of PUMA1 suggest that it may play a role in the organization of the spindle apparatus and in its interaction with the centromere in Parascaris.

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