Title page for ETD etd-06102011-075914

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Shen, Muyao
URN etd-06102011-075914
Title Changes in Kinetochore Structure and Molecular Composition in Response to Mis-attachment
Degree Master of Science
Department Biology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cimini, Daniela Committee Chair
Huckle, William R. Committee Member
Walker, Richard A. Committee Member
  • the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC)
  • kinetochore-microtubule (KT-MT) mis-attachment
  • tension
  • KT stretching
Date of Defense 2011-05-27
Availability restricted
Each mitotic chromosome is constituted by two sister chromatids whose correct segregation to the daughter cells is ensured by amphitelic attachment, in which the two sister kinetochores (KTs) are attached to microtubules (MTs) from opposite mitotic spindle poles. KT mis-attachments can occur in early mitosis and cause chromosome mis-segregation and aneuploidy if not corrected. These mis-attachments include monotelic (one attached and one unattached sister KT), syntelic (both sister KTs attached to the same spindle pole), and merotelic (a single KT attached to MTs from opposite spindle poles) attachments. A biochemical pathway named the Spindle Assembly Checkpoint (SAC) is responsible for delaying anaphase onset to allow correction of KT mis-attachments. SAC activation is believed to occur due to KT localization of certain SAC proteins and/or lack of tension, but only monotelic attachment has been proven to activate the SAC. To determine if and how other KT mis-attachments may activate the SAC, we studied how molecular composition and structure of the KT changes in response to different types of attachments. Our data suggest that monotelic attachment is the only type of attachment that can induce a SAC response thanks to the accumulation of the SAC protein Mad2 at the KT. Our data also indicate that structural changes of the KT, measured as intra- or inter-KT stretching, do not directly induce a SAC response. Instead, our findings suggest decreased KT stretching, especially in inter-KT stretching of syntelic chromosomes, may play a key role in bringing MCAK and other KT substrates closer to Aurora B kinase for rapid and efficient correction of KT mis-attachments.
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