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J Cell Sci. 2001 Feb;114(Pt 4):775-84.

Localization of a mammalian homolog of diaphanous, mDia1, to the mitotic spindle in HeLa cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, Kyoto University Faculty of Medicine, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


mDia1 is a mammalian homolog of Drosophila diaphanous and works as an effector of the small GTPase Rho. It is a member of the formin homology (FH) proteins and contains the Rho-binding domain and an FH3 region in its N terminus, an FH1 region containing polyproline stretches in the middle and an FH2 region in the C terminus. Several lines of evidence indicate that mDia1 and diaphanous are essential in cytokinesis. mDia1 is present in a large amount in the cytoplasm of both interphase and mitotic cells. Using the instantaneous fixation method that preferentially extracts soluble components, we have analyzed localization of mDia1 in mitotic HeLa cells. Immunocytochemistry using polyclonal anti-mDia1 antibody revealed specific immunofluorescence localized to the mitotic spindle. This localization was seen from prophase to telophase. Western blot analysis also detected anti-mDia1 immunoreactivity in the mitotic spindle fraction isolated from mitotic HeLa cells. Consistently, expression of full-length mDia1 as a fusion protein with green fluorescence protein (GFP) revealed the GFP fluorescence again in the mitotic spindle in HeLa cells. Expression of GFP fusions of various truncated mutants of mDia1 identified that this localization is determined by a 173 amino acid-long sequence between the Rho-binding domain and the FH1 region, which contains the C-terminal part of the FH3 region. Point mutation analysis revealed that Leu(434) and Leu(455) in the FH3 region are essential in localization to the mitotic spindle. Neither electroporation of botulinum C3 exoenzyme nor microinjection of Val14RhoA into mitotic cells affected the localization of endogenous mDia1 to the mitotic spindle, suggesting that mDia1 localizes to the mitotic spindle independent of Rho activity. The present study has thus established the mDia1 localization in the mitotic spindle. This localization suggests a role of mDia1 in the spindle-cleavage furrow interaction during cell division.

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