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- The peptidyl-prolyl isomerase Pin1 is required for maintenance of the spindle assembly checkpoint (2012)
- Chromosomes are replicated during S-phase and segregated during M-phase of the eukaryotic cell cycle. The two sister chromatids of each duplicated chromosome are topologically entrapped and, thus, paired by the ring-shaped protein complex cohesin. They are separated in anaphase of mitosis when cohesin is endoproteolytically cleaved by separase. Activation of this giant protease requires the degradation of its two inhibitors, securin and cyclin B1, which is mediated by the anaphase promoting complex or cyclosome (APC/C), a multisubunit ubiquitin ligase, in conjunction with its essential co-activator Cdc20. The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) is a surveillance mechanism that monitors the chromosomes' interactions with the microtubules of the mitotic spindle apparatus. In response to even one erroneous attachment the affected kinetochore emits a "wait anaphase" signal, which is amplified and culminates in the quantitative sequestration of Cdc20 by the SAC components Mad2 and BubR1. The consequent inactivation of the APC/C causes a metaphase arrest and gives the cell time to correct the error. Given its great importance for chromosome segregation fidelity, it comes at no surprise that loss of the SAC causes cell death while its curtailing is associated with tumour formation. Pin1 is a peptidyl-prolyl-isomerase with strong preference for phosphorylated Ser-Pro or Thr-Pro motives within its protein substrates. In the present thesis, evidence for the involvement of Pin1 in the maintenance of a robust SAC response is presented. Antibodies against Pin1 were raised and used to establish the effective immunodepletion of Pin1 from extracts of Xenopus laevis eggs. While the SAC could readily be activated in mock-treated samples of this cell free system, securin was degraded despite the presence of unattached kinetochores when Pin1 had previously been removed. Proving the specificity of this effect, a SAC mediated arrest could be rescued by adding back recombinant Pin1 to depleted extracts. Similarly, addition of dominant negative but not of wild-type Pin1 to SAC-arrested extracts resulted in a checkpoint override. Chemical inhibition of human Pin1 with two different molecules in two different cancer cells lines invariably forced the cells to exit mitosis in the absence of spindles. This resulted in the premature disappearance of securin, cyclin B1 and a mitosis-specific phosphorylation on Ser10 of histone H3. Thus, Pin1's role as a checkpoint component is conserved in mammals. In search for the relevant target, Cdc20 was identified as a novel interaction partner of vertebrate Pin1. This association requires phosphorylation of Cdc20 on Ser-Pro/Thr-Pro sites and occurs only during mitosis. Importantly, the Pin1-Cdc20 interaction is direct and not bridged via another checkpoint component or a subunit of the core APC/C. The experimental data suggest that Pin1-dependent isomerization of Cdc20 might bias it to preferentially associate with Mad2 and BubR1 instead of APC/C. Taken together, these findings contribute to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in SAC signalling and unravel a previously unappreciated role of Pin1 for genome integrity.