- Spindle Checkpoint (1) (remove)
- Regulation of Progression through Unperturbed Mitosis and in the Presence of Environmental Stress (2007)
- During mitosis, the replicated genome is distributed onto two daughter cells. Perfect regulation of progression through mitosis is essential for an error-free segregation and propagation of the genome. Surveillance pathways like the mitotic spindle checkpoint have evolved to prevent mitotic defects effectively. The molecular basis of these regulatory mechanisms is particularly well understood in budding yeast. It is not entirely clear to what extent these findings are valid for other eukaryotes as well. Therefore, in a first part, I have addressed the function of Drosophila Separase, a protease which has been implicated in several regulatory processes in budding yeast. Although an essential role of this protease for sister chromatid separation has been demonstrated in a wide range of eukaryotes, its involvement in additional processes still remains controversial. In budding yeast, separase promotes rapid exit from mitosis in a dedicated regulatory network known as FEAR. In Drosophila, a FEAR-like role could not be confirmed. Similarly, an essential involvement in the duplication of centrosomes, which form the poles of mitotic spindles in metazoan cells and are highly divergent from the functionally equivalent fungal spindle pole bodies, could not be demonstrated. In a second part I have analyzed the importance of surveillance mechanisms (in particular the mitotic spindle checkpoint) for progression through mitosis in the presence of environmental stress like anoxia and hypothermia. So far, the interaction of environmental stress with mitotic regulation has been largely neglected. However, oxygen deprivation leads to a rapid and reversible mitotic arrest. Here, anoxia is shown to have rapid effects on spindle and kinetochore function which are proposed to cause the observed efficient activation of the mitotic spindle checkpoint. Moreover, the consequences of anoxia were found to be very similar to those caused by inhibitors of oxidative phosphorylation. This suggests that the reduction in ATP levels is responsible for metaphase arrest in anoxia. Interestingly, the mitotic spindle checkpoint was also found to be important for survival in hypothermia, and the early syncytial stages which are characterized by an extremely rapid progression through mitotic cycles, were found to be the most cold-sensitive stages of Drosophila embryogenesis.