Visualization of specific DNA sequences in living mouse embryonic stem cells with a programmable fluorescent CRISPR/Cas system
Tobias Anton, Sebastian Bultmann, Heinrich Leonhardt and Yolanda Markaki
Labeling and tracing of specific sequences in living cells has been a major challenge in studying the spatiotemporal dynamics of native chromatin. Here we repurposed the prokaryotic CRISPR/Cas adaptive immunity system to specifically detect endogenous genomic loci in mouse embryonic stem cells. We constructed a catalytically inactive version of the Cas9 endonuclease, fused it with eGFP (dCas9-eGFP) and co-expressed small guide RNAs (gRNAs) to target pericentric, centric, and telomeric repeats, which are enriched in distinct nuclear structures. With major satellite specific gRNAs we obtained a characteristic chromocenter (CC) pattern, while gRNAs targeting minor satellites and telomeres highlighted smaller foci coinciding with centromere protein B (CENP-B) and telomeric repeat-binding factor 2 (TRF2), respectively. DNA sequence specific labeling by gRNA/dCas9-eGFP complexes was directly shown with 3D-fluorescent in situ hybridization (3D-FISH). Structured illumination microscopy (3D-SIM) of gRNA/dCas9-eGFP expressing cells revealed chromatin ultrastructures and demonstrated the potential of this approach for chromatin conformation studies by super resolution microscopy. This programmable dCas9 labeling system opens new perspectives to study functional nuclear architecture.
Microtubules move the nucleus to quiescence
Damien Laporte and Isabelle Sagot
The nucleus is a cellular compartment that hosts several macro-molecular machines displaying a highly complex spatial organization. This tight architectural orchestration determines not only DNA replication and repair but also regulates gene expression. In budding yeast microtubules play a key role in structuring the nucleus since they condition the Rabl arrangement in G1 and chromosome partitioning during mitosis through their attachment to centromeres via the kinetochore proteins. Recently, we have shown that upon quiescence entry, intranuclear microtubules emanating from the spindle pole body elongate to form a highly stable bundle that spans the entire nucleus. Here, we examine some molecular mechanisms that may underlie the formation of this structure. As the intranuclear microtubule bundle causes a profound re-organization of the yeast nucleus and is required for cell survival during quiescence, we discuss the possibility that the assembly of such a structure participates in quiescence establishment.
Toward a consensus on the mechanism of nuclear pore complex inheritance
C Patrick Lusk and Paolo Colombi
Nuclear compartmentalization is achieved through the enclosure of the genome by the nuclear envelope; the nuclear envelope is perforated by nuclear pore complexes (NPCs), which form portals that control molecular exchange between the nucleus and cytoplasm. The number of NPCs per nucleus establishes a limit to the flux of molecules across the nuclear envelope and might directly impact genome organization and gene expression in a cell type specific manner. Mechanisms that control NPC number remain ill defined. Our recent study implicates a cytoplasmic pool of the nucleoporin Nsp1 as a factor that controls NPC number during the asymmetric division of budding yeast; Nsp1 acts to ensure that daughters inherit NPCs. We place our data within an emerging model of NPC inheritance in yeast and consider potential analogous mechanisms in multicellular eukaryotes, including the functional conservation of a cytoplasmic pool of Nsp1.
Characterization of nuclear pore complex components in fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe
The nuclear pore complex (NPC) is an enormous proteinaceous complex composed of multiple copies of about 30 different proteins called nucleoporins. In this study, we analyzed the composition of the NPC in the model organism Schizosaccharomyces pombe using strains in which individual nucleoporins were tagged with GFP. We identified 31 proteins as nucleoporins by their localization to the nuclear periphery. Gene disruption analysis in previous studies coupled with gene disruption analysis in the present study indicates that 15 of these nucleoporins are essential for vegetative cell growth and the other 16 nucleoporins are non-essential. Among the 16 non-essential nucleoporins, 11 are required for normal progression through meiosis and their disruption caused abnormal spore formation or poor spore viability. Based on fluorescence measurements of GFP-fused nucleoporins, we estimated the composition of the NPC in S. pombe and found that the organization of the S. pombe NPC is largely similar to that of other organisms; a single NPC was estimated as being 45.8–47.8 MDa in size. We also used fluorescence measurements of single NPCs and quantitative western blotting to analyze the composition of the Nup107-Nup160 subcomplex, which plays an indispensable role in NPC organization and function. Our analysis revealed low amounts of Nup107 and Nup131 and high amounts of Nup132 in the Nup107-Nup160 subcomplex, suggesting that the composition of this complex in S. pombe may differ from that in S. cerevisiae and humans. Comparative analysis of NPCs in various organisms will lead to a comprehensive understanding of the functional architecture of the NPC.