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Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology

Jennifer T Wang, Tim Stearns
The centriole is a defining feature of many eukaryotic cells. It nucleates a cilium, organizes microtubules as part of the centrosome, and is duplicated in coordination with the cell cycle. Centrioles have a remarkable structure, consisting of microtubules arranged in a barrel with ninefold radial symmetry. At their base, or proximal end, centrioles have unique triplet microtubules, formed from three microtubules linked to each other. This microtubule organization is not found anywhere else in the cell, is conserved in all major branches of the eukaryotic tree, and likely was present in the last eukaryotic common ancestor...
March 14, 2018: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Hironori Funabiki, Christopher Jenness, Christian Zierhut
The majority of eukaryotic chromosomal DNA exists in the form of nucleosomes, where ∼147 bp DNA wraps around histone hetero-octamers, composed of histone H3, H4, H2A, and H2B. Despite their obvious importance in DNA compaction and accessibility, studying their specific roles, such as regulation of mitotic progression, in a physiological environment is associated with critical caveats because of their major contributions in transcriptional control. Through establishing a method to deplete endogenous histones H3 and H4 from frog egg extracts and complementing their functions using recombinant nucleosome arrays, we are now able to analyze their roles in mitotic progression without affecting overall transcriptomic profiles...
March 7, 2018: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Michael A Lampson, Ben E Black
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 26, 2018: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Sharon B Cantor, Jennifer A Calvo
The BRCA-Fanconi anemia (FA) pathway preserves the genome and suppresses cancer and is a main determinant of chemotherapeutic efficacy. The hereditary breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 function in DNA double-strand break repair mediating distinct steps of homologous recombination (HR). More recently, independent of DNA repair, functions in the replication stress response have come to light, providing insight as to how the BRCA-FA pathway also balances genome preservation with proliferation. The BRCA-FA proteins associate with the replisome and contribute to the efficiency and recovery of replication following perturbations that slow or arrest DNA replication...
February 22, 2018: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Qian Bian, Erika C Anderson, Katjuša Brejc, Barbara J Meyer
The function of chromatin modification in establishing higher-order chromosome structure during gene regulation has been elusive. We dissected the machinery and mechanism underlying the enrichment of histone modification H4K20me1 on hermaphrodite X chromosomes during Caenorhabditis elegans dosage compensation and discovered a key role for H4K20me1 in regulating X-chromosome topology and chromosome-wide gene expression. Structural and functional analysis of the dosage compensation complex (DCC) subunit DPY-21 revealed a novel Jumonji C demethylase subfamily that converts H4K20me2 to H4K20me1 in worms and mammals...
February 22, 2018: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Michael A Lampson, Ben E Black
The asymmetric outcome of female meiosis I, whereby an entire set of chromosomes are discarded into a polar body, presents an opportunity for selfish genetic elements to cheat the process and disproportionately segregate to the egg. Centromeres, the chromosomal loci that connect to spindle microtubules, could potentially act as selfish elements and "drive" in meiosis. We review the current understanding of the genetic and epigenetic contributions to centromere identity and describe recent progress in a powerful model system to study centromere drive in mice...
February 12, 2018: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Stephen C West, Ying Wai Chan
The efficient processing of homologous recombination (HR) intermediates, which often contain four-way structures known as Holliday junctions (HJs), is required for proper chromosome segregation at mitosis. Eukaryotic cells possess three distinct pathways of resolution: (i) HJ dissolution mediated by BLM-topoisomerase IIIα-RMI1-RMI2 (BTR) complex, and HJ resolution catalyzed by either (ii) SLX1-SLX4-MUS81-EME1-XPF-ERCC1 (SMX complex) or (iii) GEN1. The BTR pathway acts at all times throughout the cell cycle, whereas the actions of SMX and GEN1 are restrained in S phase and become elevated late in the cell cycle to ensure the resolution of persistent recombination intermediates before mitotic division...
January 18, 2018: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Elizabeth W Kahney, Rajesh Ranjan, Ryan J Gleason, Xin Chen
The processes of DNA replication and mitosis allow the genetic information of a cell to be copied and transferred reliably to its daughter cells. However, if DNA replication and cell division were always performed in a symmetric manner, the result would be a cluster of tumor cells instead of a multicellular organism. Therefore, gaining a complete understanding of any complex living organism depends on learning how cells become different while faithfully maintaining the same genetic material. It is well recognized that the distinct epigenetic information contained in each cell type defines its unique gene expression program...
January 18, 2018: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Katherine C Palozola, Hong Liu, Dario Nicetto, Kenneth S Zaret
Mitosis is thought to be a period of transcriptional silence due to the compact nature of mitotic chromosomes and the apparent exclusion of RNA Pol II and many transcription factors from mitotic chromatin. Yet accurate reactivation of a cell's specific gene expression program is needed to reestablish functional cell identity after mitosis. The majority of studies on protein regulation and localization during mitosis have relied extensively on antibodies and cross-linking-based approaches that are known to artifactually exclude proteins from mitotic chromatin...
January 18, 2018: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Takamune T Saito, Monica P Colaiácovo
Crossover recombination is essential for generating genetic diversity and promoting accurate chromosome segregation during meiosis. The process of crossover recombination is tightly regulated and is initiated by the formation of programmed meiotic DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). The number of DSBs is around 10-fold higher than the number of crossovers in most species, because only a limited number of DSBs are repaired as crossovers during meiosis. Moreover, crossovers are not randomly distributed. Most crossovers are located on chromosomal arm regions and both centromeres and telomeres are usually devoid of crossovers...
December 8, 2017: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
David Sitbon, Katrina Podsypanina, Tejas Yadav, Geneviève Almouzni
Chromatin organization in the nucleus provides a vast repertoire of information in addition to that encoded genetically. Understanding how this organization impacts genome stability and influences cell fate and tumorigenesis is an area of rapid progress. Considering the nucleosome, the fundamental unit of chromatin structure, the study of histone variants (the bricks) and their selective loading by histone chaperones (the architects) is particularly informative. Here, we report recent advances in understanding how relationships between histone variants and their chaperones contribute to tumorigenesis using cell lines and Xenopus development as model systems...
December 5, 2017: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
So I Nagaoka, Mitinori Saitou
Meiosis is a fundamental process that underpins sexual reproduction. In mammals, the execution of meiosis is tightly integrated within the complex processes of oogenesis and spermatogenesis, and elucidation of the molecular mechanisms regulating meiotic initiation remains challenging. We have recently developed in vitro culture strategies to induce mouse pluripotent stem cells into germ cells, which successfully contribute to both oogenesis and spermatogenesis and to fertile offspring. The culture strategies faithfully recapitulate transcriptional and epigenetic dynamics as well as signaling principles for germ cell specification, proliferation, and female sex determination/meiotic induction, providing a valuable platform for studies to illuminate the molecular mechanisms underlying such critical processes...
December 5, 2017: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Sarah C Hsu, Gerd A Blobel
Bromodomain and extraterminal motif (BET) proteins have been widely investigated for their roles in gene regulation and their potential as therapeutic targets in cancer. Pharmacologic BET inhibitors target the conserved bromodomain-acetyllysine interaction and do not distinguish between BRD2, BRD3, and BRD4. Thus, comparatively little is known regarding the distinct roles played by individual family members, as well as the underlying mechanisms that drive the transcriptional effects of BET inhibitors. Here we review studies regarding the contributions of BET proteins to genome structure and function, including recent work identifying a role for BRD2 as a component of functional and physical chromatin domain boundaries...
December 1, 2017: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Seira Miyazaki, Jihye Kim, Takeshi Sakuno, Yoshinori Watanabe
The kinetochore is the key apparatus regulating chromosome segregation. Particularly in meiosis, unlike in mitosis, sister kinetochores are captured by microtubules emanating from the same spindle pole (mono-orientation), and sister chromatid cohesion mediated by cohesin is protected at centromeres in the following anaphase. Shugoshin, which localizes to centromeres depending on the phosphorylation of histone H2A by Bub1 kinase, plays a central role in protecting meiotic cohesin Rec8 from separase cleavage...
December 1, 2017: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Timothy J Mitchison, Christine M Field
During cytokinesis, the mitotic spindle communicates with the cell cortex to position a cleavage furrow that will cut through the cell in the plane defined by the metaphase plate. We investigated the molecular basis of this communication in Xenopus laevis eggs, where the signal has to travel ∼400 µm in ∼30 min to reach the cortex from the first anaphase spindle. At anaphase onset, huge microtubule asters grow out from the poles of the spindle and meet at the plane previously defined by the metaphase plate...
December 1, 2017: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Steven Henikoff, Jitendra Thakur, Sivakanthan Kasinathan, Paul B Talbert
Centromeres were familiar to cell biologists in the late 19th century, but for most eukaryotes the basis for centromere specification has remained enigmatic. Much attention has been focused on the cenH3 (CENP-A) histone variant, which forms the foundation of the centromere. To investigate the DNA sequence requirements for centromere specification, we applied a variety of epigenomic approaches, which have revealed surprising diversity in centromeric chromatin properties. Whereas each point centromere of budding yeast is occupied by a single precisely positioned tetrameric nucleosome with one cenH3 molecule, the "regional" centromeres of fission yeast contain unphased presumably octameric nucleosomes with two cenH3s...
December 1, 2017: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Prabhakar R Gudla, Koh Nakayama, Gianluca Pegoraro, Tom Misteli
DNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is the technique of choice to map the position of genomic loci in three-dimensional (3D) space at the single allele level in the cell nucleus. High-throughput DNA FISH methods have recently been developed using complex libraries of fluorescently labeled synthetic oligonucleotides and automated fluorescence microscopy, enabling large-scale interrogation of genomic organization. Although the FISH signals generated by high-throughput methods can, in principle, be analyzed by traditional spot-detection algorithms, these approaches require user intervention to optimize each interrogated genomic locus, making analysis of tens or hundreds of genomic loci in a single experiment prohibitive...
November 28, 2017: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Simon Jenni, Yoana N Dimitrova, Roberto Valverde, Stephen M Hinshaw, Stephen C Harrison
Kinetochore molecular architecture exemplifies "form follows function." The simplifications that generated the one-chromosome:one-microtubule linkage in point-centromere yeast have enabled strategies for systematic structural analysis and high-resolution visualization of many kinetochore components, leading to specific proposals for molecular mechanisms. We describe here some structural features that allow a kinetochore to remain attached to the end of a depolymerizing microtubule (MT) and some characteristics of the connections between substructures that permit very sensitive regulation by differential kinase activities...
November 22, 2017: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Josh Lawrimore, Brandon Friedman, Ayush Doshi, Kerry Bloom
ChromoShake is a three-dimensional simulator designed to explore the range of configurational states a chromosome can adopt based on thermodynamic fluctuations of the polymer chain. Here, we refine ChromoShake to generate dynamic simulations of a DNA-based motor protein such as condensin walking along the chromatin substrate. We model walking as a rotation of DNA-binding heat-repeat proteins around one another. The simulation is applied to several configurations of DNA to reveal the consequences of mechanical stepping on taut chromatin under tension versus loop extrusion on single-tethered, floppy chromatin substrates...
November 22, 2017: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
Ping Chen, Guohong Li
In eukaryotes, genomic DNA is hierarchically packaged by histones into chromatin on several levels to fit inside the nucleus. As a central-level structure between nucleosomal arrays and higher-order chromatin organizations, the 30-nm chromatin fiber and its dynamics play a crucial role in gene regulation. However, despite considerable efforts over the past three decades, the fundamental structure and its dynamic regulation of chromatin fibers still remain as a big challenge in molecular biology. Here, we mainly summarize the most recent progress in elucidating the structure of the 30-nm chromatin fiber in vitro and epigenetic regulation of chromatin fibers by chromatin factors, particularly histone variants...
November 22, 2017: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
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