Centrosomes contribute to mitotic spindle organization and orientation in mitosis, and to the assembly of primary cilia in nondividing cells. Centrosome anomalies affect the fidelity of spindle and cilia function and are associated with ciliopathies, microcephaly, dwarfism, cancer and other human disorders. Cilia proteins are found at centrosomes in mitotic cells (spindle poles) and some are involved in the orientation of cell division. However, the function of these cilia proteins in mitotic cells is not known. Preliminary results from the Doxsey laboratory suggest that cilia proteins required for transporting material up and down cilia in noncycling cells (intraflagellar transport, IFT) also transport material to and from spindle poles in mitotic cells. Disruption of these cilia proteins induces defects in mitotic spindle orientation, astral microtubule organization, spindle pole function and mitotic progression. Other cilia proteins localize to additional mitotic structures such as kinetochores and midbodies, suggesting additional mitotic functions of this class of proteins. The overall goal of this proposal is to test the hypothesis that IFT complexes involved in cilia formation and function in noncycling cells, are re-directed, at least in part, to perform previously unanticipated mitotic functions. To test this, we will address the molecular mechanism of IFT protein complex function in mitotic spindles. Our preliminary studies indicate that IFT88 forms particles in cells that transport microtubule-nucleating proteins to spindle poles using the dynein motor.
The specific aims are designed to test if IFT protein complexes serve as carriers of mitotic cargoes and if dynein provides the force for their movement. Novel aspects of the work include the identification of a novel mechanism for spindle pole assembly and spindle orientation, the use of super- resolution microscopy to image the dynamics of novel IFT protein-containing particles in living mitotic cells, the characterization of new mitotic IFT protein-dynein complexes using new affinity systems and the use of in vitro assays to study dynein-based motility. This work has the potential to identify a new molecular pathway for spindle pole assembly and to define novel functions of cilia proteins in mitotic cells.

Public Health Relevance

We seek to uncover a novel molecular pathway for spindle organization, which is relevant to a number of human disorders including cancer, developmental abnormalities, ciliopathies, microcephalies and primordial dwarfisms. A long-term goal of this work is to develop new therapeutic strategies for prevention or treatment of disorders arising from spindle dysfunction.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Nuclear and Cytoplasmic Structure/Function and Dynamics Study Section (NCSD)
Program Officer
Gindhart, Joseph G
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester
Other Basic Sciences
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Chen, Chun-Ting; Hehnly, Heidi; Yu, Qing et al. (2014) A unique set of centrosome proteins requires pericentrin for spindle-pole localization and spindle orientation. Curr Biol 24:2327-34
Sillibourne, James Edward; Delaval, Benedicte; Redick, Sambra et al. (2007) Chromatin remodeling proteins interact with pericentrin to regulate centrosome integrity. Mol Biol Cell 18:3667-80
Mikule, Keith; Delaval, Benedicte; Kaldis, Philipp et al. (2007) Loss of centrosome integrity induces p38-p53-p21-dependent G1-S arrest. Nat Cell Biol 9:160-70
Parish, Joanna L; Rosa, Jack; Wang, Xiaoyu et al. (2006) The DNA helicase ChlR1 is required for sister chromatid cohesion in mammalian cells. J Cell Sci 119:4857-65
Rosa, Jack; Canovas, Pedro; Islam, Ashraful et al. (2006) Survivin modulates microtubule dynamics and nucleation throughout the cell cycle. Mol Biol Cell 17:1483-93
Doxsey, Stephen J (2005) Molecular links between centrosome and midbody. Mol Cell 20:170-2
Gromley, Adam; Yeaman, Charles; Rosa, Jack et al. (2005) Centriolin anchoring of exocyst and SNARE complexes at the midbody is required for secretory-vesicle-mediated abscission. Cell 123:75-87
Chen, Dan; Purohit, Aruna; Halilovic, Ensar et al. (2004) Centrosomal anchoring of protein kinase C betaII by pericentrin controls microtubule organization, spindle function, and cytokinesis. J Biol Chem 279:4829-39
Zimmerman, Wendy C; Sillibourne, James; Rosa, Jack et al. (2004) Mitosis-specific anchoring of gamma tubulin complexes by pericentrin controls spindle organization and mitotic entry. Mol Biol Cell 15:3642-57
Gavanescu, I; Pihan, G; Halilovic, E et al. (2004) Mycoplasma infection induces a scleroderma-like centrosome autoantibody response in mice. Clin Exp Immunol 137:288-97

Showing the most recent 10 out of 27 publications