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Curr Biol 2019 Nov 04;2921:3720-3727.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.08.073.
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Kif2a Scales Meiotic Spindle Size in Hymenochirus boettgeri.

Miller KE , Session AM , Heald R .

Size is a fundamental feature of biological systems that affects physiology at all levels. For example, the dynamic, microtubule-based spindle that mediates chromosome segregation scales to a wide range of cell sizes across different organisms and cell types. Xenopus frog species possess a variety of egg and meiotic spindle sizes, and differences in activities or levels of microtubule-associated proteins in the egg cytoplasm between Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis have been shown to account for spindle scaling [1]. Increased activity of the microtubule severing protein katanin scales the X. tropicalis spindle smaller compared to X. laevis [2], as do elevated levels of TPX2, a protein that enriches the cross-linking kinesin-5 motor Eg5 at spindle poles [3]. To examine the conservation of spindle scaling mechanisms more broadly across frog species, we have utilized the tiny, distantly related Pipid frog Hymenochirus boettgeri. We find that egg extracts from H. boettgeri form meiotic spindles similar in size to X. tropicalis but that TPX2 and katanin-mediated scaling is not conserved. Instead, the microtubule depolymerizing motor protein kif2a functions to modulate spindle size. H. boettgeri kif2a possesses an activating phosphorylation site that is absent from X. laevis. Comparison of katanin and kif2a phosphorylation sites across a variety of species revealed strong evolutionary conservation, with X. laevis and X. tropicalis possessing distinct and unique alterations. Our study highlights the diversity and complexity of spindle assembly and scaling mechanisms, indicating that there is more than one way to assemble a spindle of a particular size.

PubMed ID: 31630945
PMC ID: PMC6832855
Article link: Curr Biol
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus tropicalis Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: arhgef5 kif11 kif2a mbp ran sult2a1 tpx2
GO keywords: phosphorylation [+]

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Brown, Xenopus tropicalis egg extracts provide insight into scaling of the mitotic spindle. 2007, Pubmed, Xenbase