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      Probing Spindle Assembly Mechanisms with Monastrol, a Small Molecule Inhibitor of the Mitotic Kinesin, Eg5

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          Abstract

          Monastrol, a cell-permeable small molecule inhibitor of the mitotic kinesin, Eg5, arrests cells in mitosis with monoastral spindles. Here, we use monastrol to probe mitotic mechanisms. We find that monastrol does not inhibit progression through S and G2 phases of the cell cycle or centrosome duplication. The mitotic arrest due to monastrol is also rapidly reversible. Chromosomes in monastrol-treated cells frequently have both sister kinetochores attached to microtubules extending to the center of the monoaster (syntelic orientation). Mitotic arrest–deficient protein 2 (Mad2) localizes to a subset of kinetochores, suggesting the activation of the spindle assembly checkpoint in these cells. Mad2 localizes to some kinetochores that have attached microtubules in monastrol-treated cells, indicating that kinetochore microtubule attachment alone may not satisfy the spindle assembly checkpoint. Monastrol also inhibits bipolar spindle formation in Xenopus egg extracts. However, it does not prevent the targeting of Eg5 to the monoastral spindles that form. Imaging bipolar spindles disassembling in the presence of monastrol allowed direct observations of outward directed forces in the spindle, orthogonal to the pole-to-pole axis. Monastrol is thus a useful tool to study mitotic processes, detection and correction of chromosome malorientation, and contributions of Eg5 to spindle assembly and maintenance.

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          Most cited references 51

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          Small molecule inhibitor of mitotic spindle bipolarity identified in a phenotype-based screen.

          Small molecules that perturb specific protein functions are valuable tools for dissecting complex processes in mammalian cells. A combination of two phenotype-based screens, one based on a specific posttranslational modification, the other visualizing microtubules and chromatin, was used to identify compounds that affect mitosis. One compound, here named monastrol, arrested mammalian cells in mitosis with monopolar spindles. In vitro, monastrol specifically inhibited the motility of the mitotic kinesin Eg5, a motor protein required for spindle bipolarity. All previously known small molecules that specifically affect the mitotic machinery target tubulin. Monastrol will therefore be a particularly useful tool for studying mitotic mechanisms.
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            Feedback control of mitosis in budding yeast.

            We have investigated the feedback control that prevents cells with incompletely assembled spindles from leaving mitosis. We isolated budding yeast mutants sensitive to the anti-microtubule drug benomyl. Mitotic arrest-deficient (mad) mutants are the subclass of benomyl-sensitive mutants in which the completion of mitosis is not delayed in the presence of benomyl and that die as a consequence of their premature exit from mitosis. A number of properties of the mad mutants indicate that they are defective in the feedback control over the exit from mitosis: their killing by benomyl requires passage through mitosis; their benomyl sensitivity can be suppressed by an independent method for delaying the exit from mitosis; they have normal microtubules; and they have increased frequencies of chromosome loss. We cloned MAD2, which encodes a putative calcium-binding protein whose disruption is lethal. We discuss the role of feedback controls in coordinating events in the cell cycle.
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              Phosphorylation by p34cdc2 regulates spindle association of human Eg5, a kinesin-related motor essential for bipolar spindle formation in vivo.

              We have isolated a human homolog of Xenopus Eg5, a kinesin-related motor protein implicated in the assembly and dynamics of the mitotic spindle. We report that microinjection of antibodies against human Eg5 (HsEg5) blocks centrosome migration and causes HeLa cells to arrest in mitosis with monoastral microtubule arrays. Furthermore, an evolutionarily conserved cdc2 phosphorylation site (Thr-927) in HsEg5 is phosphorylated specifically during mitosis in HeLa cells and by p34cdc2/cyclin B in vitro. Mutation of Thr-927 to nonphosphorylatable residues prevents HsEg5 from binding to centrosomes, indicating that phosphorylation controls the association of this motor with the spindle apparatus. These results indicate that HsEg5 is required for establishing a bipolar spindle and that p34cdc2 protein kinase directly regulates its localization.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                J Cell Biol
                The Journal of Cell Biology
                The Rockefeller University Press
                0021-9525
                1540-8140
                4 September 2000
                : 150
                : 5
                : 975-988
                Affiliations
                [a ]Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
                [b ]Institute of Chemistry and Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
                Article
                0005102
                2175262
                10973989
                © 2000 The Rockefeller University Press
                Categories
                Original Article

                Cell biology

                kinetochore, mad2, kinesin, monastrol, eg5

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