Microtubules control different aspects of cell polarization. In cells with a radial microtubule system, a pivotal role in setting up asymmetry is attributed to the relative positioning of the centrosome and the nucleus. Here, we show that centrosome loss had no effect on the ability of endothelial cells to polarize and move in 2D and 3D environments. In contrast, non-centrosomal microtubules stabilized by the microtubule minus-end-binding protein CAMSAP2 were required for directional migration on 2D substrates and for the establishment of polarized cell morphology in soft 3D matrices. CAMSAP2 was also important for persistent endothelial cell sprouting during in vivo zebrafish vessel development. In the absence of CAMSAP2, cell polarization in 3D could be partly rescued by centrosome depletion, indicating that in these conditions the centrosome inhibited cell polarity. We propose that CAMSAP2-protected non-centrosomal microtubules are needed for establishing cell asymmetry by enabling microtubule enrichment in a single cell protrusion.
- Anna Akhmanova
- Anna Akhmanova
- Maud Martin
- Jingchao Wu
- Alexandra Veloso
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All animal experiments were approved by the animal welfare committee of the University of Liege (protocol number 14-1556, laboratory agreement number LA 1610002).
- Pekka Lappalainen, University of Helsinki, Finland
© 2018, Martin et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Microtubules are dynamic polymers consisting of αβ-tubulin heterodimers. The initial polymerization process, called microtubule nucleation, occurs spontaneously via αβ-tubulin. Since a large energy barrier prevents microtubule nucleation in cells, the γ-tubulin ring complex is recruited to the centrosome to overcome the nucleation barrier. However, a considerable number of microtubules can polymerize independently of the centrosome in various cell types. Here, we present evidence that the minus-end-binding calmodulin-regulated spectrin-associated protein 2 (CAMSAP2) serves as a strong nucleator for microtubule formation by significantly reducing the nucleation barrier. CAMSAP2 co-condensates with αβ-tubulin via a phase separation process, producing plenty of nucleation intermediates. Microtubules then radiate from the co-condensates, resulting in aster-like structure formation. CAMSAP2 localizes at the co-condensates and decorates the radiating microtubule lattices to some extent. Taken together, these in vitro findings suggest that CAMSAP2 supports microtubule nucleation and growth by organizing a nucleation centre as well as by stabilizing microtubule intermediates and growing microtubules.
Heterozygous, missense mutations in α- or β-tubulin genes are associated with a wide range of human brain malformations, known as tubulinopathies. We seek to understand whether a mutation’s impact at the molecular and cellular levels scale with the severity of brain malformation. Here, we focus on two mutations at the valine 409 residue of TUBA1A, V409I, and V409A, identified in patients with pachygyria or lissencephaly, respectively. We find that ectopic expression of TUBA1A-V409I/A mutants disrupt neuronal migration in mice and promote excessive neurite branching and a decrease in the number of neurite retraction events in primary rat neuronal cultures. These neuronal phenotypes are accompanied by increased microtubule acetylation and polymerization rates. To determine the molecular mechanisms, we modeled the V409I/A mutants in budding yeast and found that they promote intrinsically faster microtubule polymerization rates in cells and in reconstitution experiments with purified tubulin. In addition, V409I/A mutants decrease the recruitment of XMAP215/Stu2 to plus ends in budding yeast and ablate tubulin binding to TOG (tumor overexpressed gene) domains. In each assay tested, the TUBA1A-V409I mutant exhibits an intermediate phenotype between wild type and the more severe TUBA1A-V409A, reflecting the severity observed in brain malformations. Together, our data support a model in which the V409I/A mutations disrupt microtubule regulation typically conferred by XMAP215 proteins during neuronal morphogenesis and migration, and this impact on tubulin activity at the molecular level scales with the impact at the cellular and tissue levels.