Journal article

zyg-8, a gene required for spindle positioning in C. elegans, encodes a doublecortin-related kinase that promotes microtubule assembly

Proper spindle positioning is essential for spatial control of cell division. Here, we show that zyg-8 plays a key role in spindle positioning during asymmetric division of one-cell stage C. elegans embryos by promoting microtubule assembly during anaphase. ZYG-8 harbors a kinase domain and a domain related to Doublecortin, a microtubule-associated protein (MAP) affected in patients with neuronal migration disorders. Sequencing of zyg-8 mutant alleles demonstrates that both domains are essential for function. ZYG-8 binds to microtubules in vitro, colocalizes with microtubules in vivo, and promotes stabilization of microtubules to drug or cold depolymerization in COS-7 cells. Our findings demonstrate that ZYG-8 is a MAP crucial for proper spindle positioning in C. elegans, and indicate that the function of the Doublecortin domain in modulating microtubule dynamics is conserved across metazoan evolution.


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