Biology Inspired Physics at Mesoscales

Team Publications

Year of publication 2015

Nicolas Christophorou, Thomas Rubin, Isabelle Bonnet, Tristan Piolot, Marion Arnaud, Jean-René Huynh (2015 Oct 13)

Microtubule-driven nuclear rotations promote meiotic chromosome dynamics

Nature cell biology : 1388-400 : DOI : 10.1038/ncb3249 Learn more
Summary

At the onset of meiosis, each chromosome needs to find its homologue and pair to ensure proper segregation. In Drosophila, pairing occurs during the mitotic cycles preceding meiosis. Here we show that germ cell nuclei undergo marked movements during this developmental window. We demonstrate that microtubules and Dynein are driving nuclear rotations and are required for centromere pairing and clustering. We further found that Klaroid (SUN) and Klarsicht (KASH) co-localize with centromeres at the nuclear envelope and are required for proper chromosome motions and pairing. We identified Mud (NuMA in vertebrates) as co-localizing with centromeres, Klarsicht and Klaroid. Mud is also required to maintain the integrity of the nuclear envelope and for the correct assembly of the synaptonemal complex. Our findings reveal a mechanism for chromosome pairing in Drosophila, and indicate that microtubules, centrosomes and associated proteins play a crucial role in the dynamic organization of chromosomes inside the nucleus.

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Nicolas Christophorou, Thomas Rubin, Isabelle Bonnet, Tristan Piolot, Marion Arnaud, Jean-René Huynh (2015 Oct 13)

Microtubule-driven nuclear rotations promote meiotic chromosome dynamics.

Nature cell biology : 1388-400 : DOI : 10.1038/ncb3249 Learn more
Summary

At the onset of meiosis, each chromosome needs to find its homologue and pair to ensure proper segregation. In Drosophila, pairing occurs during the mitotic cycles preceding meiosis. Here we show that germ cell nuclei undergo marked movements during this developmental window. We demonstrate that microtubules and Dynein are driving nuclear rotations and are required for centromere pairing and clustering. We further found that Klaroid (SUN) and Klarsicht (KASH) co-localize with centromeres at the nuclear envelope and are required for proper chromosome motions and pairing. We identified Mud (NuMA in vertebrates) as co-localizing with centromeres, Klarsicht and Klaroid. Mud is also required to maintain the integrity of the nuclear envelope and for the correct assembly of the synaptonemal complex. Our findings reveal a mechanism for chromosome pairing in Drosophila, and indicate that microtubules, centrosomes and associated proteins play a crucial role in the dynamic organization of chromosomes inside the nucleus.

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Byung-Kuk Yoo, Axel Buguin, Zoher Gueroui (2015 Jul 30)

Biochemical perturbations of the mitotic spindle in Xenopus extracts using a diffusion-based microfluidic assay.

Biomicrofluidics : 044101 : DOI : 10.1063/1.4926324 Learn more
Summary

A microfluidic device is a powerful tool to manipulate in a controlled manner at spatiotemporal scales for biological systems. Here, we describe a simple diffusion-based assay to generate and measure the effect of biochemical perturbations within the cytoplasm of cell-free extracts from Xenopus eggs. Our approach comprises a microliter reservoir and a model cytoplasm that are separated by a synthetic membrane containing sub-micrometric pores through which small molecules and recombinant proteins can diffuse. We have used this system to examine the perturbation of elements of the mitotic spindle, which is a microtubule-based bipolar structure involved in the segregation of the replicated genome to daughter cells during cell division. First, we used the small molecule inhibitor monastrol to target kinesin-5, a molecular motor that maintains the microtubule spindle bipolarity. Next, we explored the dynamics of the mitotic spindle by monitoring the exchange between unpolymerized and polymerized tubulin within microtubule fibers. These results show that a simple diffusion-based system can generate biochemical perturbations directly within a cell-free cytoplasm based on Xenopus egg extracts at the time scale of minutes. Our assay is therefore suitable for monitoring the dynamics of supramolecular assemblies within cell-free extracts in response to perturbations. This strategy opens up broad perspectives including phenotype screening or mechanistic studies of biological assembly processes and could be applied to other cell-free extracts such as those derived from mammalian or bacterial cells.

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Vincent Nier, Maxime Deforet, Guillaume Duclos, Hannah G Yevick, Olivier Cochet-Escartin, Philippe Marcq, Pascal Silberzan (2015 Jul 21)

Tissue fusion over nonadhering surfaces.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America : 9546-51 : DOI : 10.1073/pnas.1501278112 Learn more
Summary

Tissue fusion eliminates physical voids in a tissue to form a continuous structure and is central to many processes in development and repair. Fusion events in vivo, particularly in embryonic development, often involve the purse-string contraction of a pluricellular actomyosin cable at the free edge. However, in vitro, adhesion of the cells to their substrate favors a closure mechanism mediated by lamellipodial protrusions, which has prevented a systematic study of the purse-string mechanism. Here, we show that monolayers can cover well-controlled mesoscopic nonadherent areas much larger than a cell size by purse-string closure and that active epithelial fluctuations are required for this process. We have formulated a simple stochastic model that includes purse-string contractility, tissue fluctuations, and effective friction to qualitatively and quantitatively account for the dynamics of closure. Our data suggest that, in vivo, tissue fusion adapts to the local environment by coordinating lamellipodial protrusions and purse-string contractions.

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