The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe is widely used as a model system for studies of the cell cycle and chromosome biology. To enhance these studies we have fused GFP to the chromodomain protein Swi6p, thus allowing nuclear and chromosome behaviour to be followed in living cells using time-lapse fluorescence microscopy. Like endogenous Swi6p, GFP-Swi6p localises to the nucleus and is concentrated at the heterochromatic centromeres and telomeres. The nucleus is highly dynamic during interphase: the clustered centromeres, in particular, are highly mobile. By expressing GFP-(α)2-tubulin and GFP-Swi6p in the same cells we observe that the clustered centromeres move in concert with the cytoplasmic microtubules, which is likely to reflect their association with the spindle pole body. Drug treatment indicates that this movement is dependent on intact cytoplasmic microtubules. We have also used GFP-Swi6p to investigate the properties of lagging chromosomes observed in mutants with defects in chromosome segregation. Lagging chromosomes display a variety of behaviours on anaphase spindles, most surprisingly, chromosomes appear to initiate microtubule interactions and move to the poles late in anaphase B. Interestingly, in cells displaying lagging chromosomes, the rate of spindle elongation is slowed by a factor of two. This suggests that cells are able to sense the presence of a lagging chromosome and slow anaphase B in order to allow it extra time to reach the pole. However, this mechanism is not dependent on the spindle checkpoint proteins Bub1p or Dma1p, raising the possibility that a novel checkpoint mechanism operates to retard spindle elongation if lagging chromosomes are detected. An alternative model is also discussed in which single defective kinetochores on lagging chromatids are able to interact simultaneously with microtubules emanating from both poles and affect spindle dynamics by counteracting the spindle elongation force.
Live analysis of lagging chromosomes during anaphase and their effect on spindle elongation rate in fission yeast
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A.L. Pidoux, S. Uzawa, P.E. Perry, W.Z. Cande, R.C. Allshire; Live analysis of lagging chromosomes during anaphase and their effect on spindle elongation rate in fission yeast. J Cell Sci 15 December 2000; 113 (23): 4177–4191. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jcs.113.23.4177
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