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The Kinetochore-Microtubule Coupling Machinery Is Repurposed in Sensory Nervous System Morphogenesis.

  • Author(s): Cheerambathur, Dhanya K;
  • Prevo, Bram;
  • Chow, Tiffany-Lynn;
  • Hattersley, Neil;
  • Wang, Shaohe;
  • Zhao, Zhiling;
  • Kim, Taekyung;
  • Gerson-Gurwitz, Adina;
  • Oegema, Karen;
  • Green, Rebecca;
  • Desai, Arshad
  • et al.
Abstract

Dynamic coupling of microtubule ends to kinetochores, built on the centromeres of chromosomes, directs chromosome segregation during cell division. Here, we report that the evolutionarily ancient kinetochore-microtubule coupling machine, the KMN (Knl1/Mis12/Ndc80-complex) network, plays a critical role in neuronal morphogenesis. We show that the KMN network concentrates in microtubule-rich dendrites of developing sensory neurons that collectively extend in a multicellular morphogenetic event that occurs during C. elegans embryogenesis. Post-mitotic degradation of KMN components in sensory neurons disrupts dendritic extension, leading to patterning and functional defects in the sensory nervous system. Structure-guided mutations revealed that the molecular interface that couples kinetochores to spindle microtubules also functions in neuronal development. These results identify a cell-division-independent function for the chromosome-segregation machinery and define a microtubule-coupling-dependent event in sensory nervous system morphogenesis.

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