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J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2017 May;64(3):293-307. doi: 10.1111/jeu.12366. Epub 2016 Sep 23.

Kinesin-14 is Important for Chromosome Segregation During Mitosis and Meiosis in the Ciliate Tetrahymena thermophila.

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Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8572, Japan.
Institute for Molecular and Cellular Regulation, Gunma University, Maebashi, Gunma, 371-8512, Japan.
Gunma University Initiative for Advanced Research, Gunma University, Maebashi, Gunma, 371-8511, Japan.
Department of Cellular Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, 30602, USA.


Ciliates such as Tetrahymena thermophila have two distinct nuclei within one cell: the micronucleus that undergoes mitosis and meiosis and the macronucleus that undergoes amitosis, a type of nuclear division that does not involve a bipolar spindle, but still relies on intranuclear microtubules. Ciliates provide an opportunity for the discovery of factors that specifically contribute to chromosome segregation based on a bipolar spindle, by identification of factors that affect the micronuclear but not the macronuclear division. Kinesin-14 is a conserved minus-end directed microtubule motor that cross-links microtubules and contributes to the bipolar spindle sizing and organization. Here, we use homologous DNA recombination to knock out genes that encode kinesin-14 orthologues (KIN141, KIN142) in Tetrahymena. A loss of KIN141 led to severe defects in the chromosome segregation during both mitosis and meiosis but did not affect amitosis. A loss of KIN141 altered the shape of the meiotic spindle in a way consistent with the KIN141's contribution to the organization of the spindle poles. EGFP-tagged KIN141 preferentially accumulated at the spindle poles during the meiotic prophase and metaphase I. Thus, in ciliates, kinesin-14 is important for nuclear divisions that involve a bipolar spindle.


Macronucleus; micronucleus; microtubule; minus-end motors; spindle

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