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I am postdoc focused on microtubules. I work on building principles of centriole in eukaryotic cell.


Centriole is under interest for many years, however still enigmatic. Let´s find out how it works!!!

Centriole is a tiny organelle placed in the centre of the cell that looks like a little barrel. When missing or damaged, centriole causes severe inherited diseases in humans. Centriole play a key role in segregation of chromosomes during cell division and organizing the inner space of the cell. It is composed from various proteins and my research is focused on one of the most important, tubulin. Tubulin polymerizes into a typical microtubule tubes. Each three tubes form a triplet, nine of them form a cylindrical wall providing centriole its barrel shape.

Microtubules in centriole triplet are bound together by the unique connection and make centriole incredibly stable and resistant to mechanical stress. First microtubule in triplet supports the formation of second microtubule from its own wall. Second microtubule does the same for third microtubule with help of some other protein. This connection is unusual in overall cell as microtubules in cytoplasm are only single tubes. Moreover, centriole triplets continue as doublets into typical extensions, such as cilia and flagella. Both organelles represent a cellular antenna necessary for communication with neighbouring cells, for cell movement or movement of fluid around the cell. Their improper function results in ciliopathies or inability of sperm to move and fertilize the egg cell.

We do not know so far how two microtubules bind each other in such stable connection. The electrostatic repulsion of highly negatively charged tails of tubulins in microtubule wall principally do not allow it. I am looking for the mechanism and for this I use microtubules prepared in a test tube. Such model is pretty easy and allow me to elegantly study polymerization capabilities under various conditions and reveal their regulation. Microtubules are only 25 nm in diameter and for seeing them I use cryo-electron microscopy. This allow me to even see subnanometer resolution in detail of the exact connection between two microtubules. I also see how fast microtubules polymerize on each other in a real time due to red and green fluorescent tubulin used for their formation. The outcome will help us to understand deeply the tubulin interacting capabilities. Revealing the mechanism of microtubule triplet formation will shed more light onto the rules applied for generation of the centriole wall. One day after puzzling all unknown mechanisms together, we might be able to generate whole artificial centriole in a test tube.


CEP19 cooperates with FOP and CEP350 to drive early steps in the ciliogenesis programme.

Abstract: Primary cilia are microtubule-based sensory organelles necessary for efficient transduction of extracellular cues. To initiate cilia formation, ciliary vesicles (CVs) are transported to the vicinity of the centrosome where they dock to the distal end of the mother centriole and fuse to initiate cilium assembly. However, to this date, the early steps in cilia formation remain incompletely understood. Here, we demonstrate functional interplay between CEP19, FOP and CEP350 in ciliogenesis. Using three-dimensional structured-illumination microscopy (3D-SIM) imaging, we mapped the relative spatial distribution of these proteins at the distal end of the mother centriole and show that CEP350/FOP act upstream of CEP19 in their recruitment hierarchy. We demonstrate that CEP19 CRISPR KO cells are severely impaired in their ability to form cilia, analogous to the loss of function of CEP19 binding partners FOP and CEP350. Notably, in the absence of CEP19 microtubule anchoring at centromes is similar in manner to its interaction partners FOP and CEP350. Using GFP-tagged deletion constructs of CEP19, we show that the C-terminus of CEP19 is required for both its localization to centrioles and for its function in ciliogenesis. Critically, this region also mediates the interaction between CEP19 and FOP/CEP350. Interestingly, a morbid-obesity-associated R82* truncated mutant of CEP19 cannot ciliate nor interact with FOP and CEP350, indicative of a putative role for CEP19 in ciliopathies. Finally, analysis of CEP19 KO cells using thin-section electron microscopy revealed marked defects in the docking of CVs to the distal end of the mother centrioles. Together, these data demonstrate a role for the CEP19, FOP and CEP350 module in ciliogenesis and the possible effect of disrupting their functions in ciliopathies.

Pub.: 01 Jul '17, Pinned: 31 Aug '17

Roles of the cilium-associated gene CCDC11 in left-right patterning and in laterality disorders in humans.

Abstract: Axial determination occurs during early stages of embryogenesis. Flaws in laterality patterning result in abnormal positioning of visceral organs, as manifested in heterotaxy syndrome, or complete left-right inversion as in situs inversus totalis. These malformations are often associated with ciliopathies, as seen in primary ciliary dyskinesia. We have recently described a novel mutation in the Coiled-Coil Domain-Containing 11 (CCDC11) gene associated with laterality disorders in a consanguineous family of Arab-Muslim origin with two affected siblings presenting with diverse phenotypes, one with heterotaxy syndrome and the other with non-primary ciliary dyskinesia situs inversus totalis. This study further characterizes the roles of CCDC11 and the implications of the identified mutation on left-right axial patterning in patient-derived cells and in the frog embryo as a model organism. We analyzed patient-derived cells and manipulated Ccdc11 levels in Xenopus laevis frog embryos. Cilia length in patient cells was longer than in controls, and CCDC11 was localized to the centriole and the actin cytoskeleton. Mutated truncated protein accumulated and was also localized to the centriole and actin cytoskeleton. In frog embryos, Ccdc11 was regulated downstream of FoxJ1, and overexpression of the full-length or truncated protein, or downregulation of the gene resulted in severe disruption of embryonic left-right axial patterning. Taken together, our initial description of the deleterious mutation in CCDC11 in patients, the current results and more recent supportive studies highlight the important role of CCDC11 in axial patterning.

Pub.: 18 Jun '17, Pinned: 31 Aug '17

The Centrioles, Centrosomes, Basal Bodies, and Cilia of Drosophila melanogaster.

Abstract: Centrioles play a key role in the development of the fly. They are needed for the correct formation of centrosomes, the organelles at the poles of the spindle that can persist as microtubule organizing centers (MTOCs) into interphase. The ability to nucleate cytoplasmic microtubules (MTs) is a property of the surrounding pericentriolar material (PCM). The centriole has a dual life, existing not only as the core of the centrosome but also as the basal body, the structure that templates the formation of cilia and flagellae. Thus the structure and functions of the centriole, the centrosome, and the basal body have an impact upon many aspects of development and physiology that can readily be modeled in Drosophila Centrosomes are essential to give organization to the rapidly increasing numbers of nuclei in the syncytial embryo and for the spatially precise execution of cell division in numerous tissues, particularly during male meiosis. Although mitotic cell cycles can take place in the absence of centrosomes, this is an error-prone process that opens up the fly to developmental defects and the potential of tumor formation. Here, we review the structure and functions of the centriole, the centrosome, and the basal body in different tissues and cultured cells of Drosophila melanogaster, highlighting their contributions to different aspects of development and cell division.

Pub.: 10 May '17, Pinned: 31 Aug '17

Dry Preservation of Spermatozoa: Considerations for Different Species.

Abstract: The current gold standard for sperm preservation is storage at cryogenic temperatures. Dry preservation is an attractive alternative, eliminating the need for ultralow temperatures, reducing storage maintenance costs, and providing logistical flexibility for shipping. Many seeds and anhydrobiotic organisms are able to survive extended periods in a dry state through the accumulation of intracellular sugars and other osmolytes and are capable of returning to normal physiology postrehydration. Using techniques inspired by nature's adaptations, attempts have been made to dehydrate and dry preserve spermatozoa from a variety of species. Most of the anhydrous preservation research performed to date has focused on mouse spermatozoa, with only a small number of studies in nonrodent mammalian species. There is a significant difference between sperm function in rodent and nonrodent mammalian species with respect to centrosomal inheritance. Studies focused on reproductive technologies have demonstrated that in nonrodent species, the centrosome must be preserved to maintain sperm function as the spermatozoon centrosome contributes the dominant nucleating seed, consisting of the proximal centriole surrounded by pericentriolar components, onto which the oocyte's centrosomal material is assembled. Preservation techniques used for mouse sperm may therefore not necessarily be applicable to nonrodent spermatozoa. The range of technologies used to dehydrate sperm and the effect of processing and storage conditions on fertilization and embryogenesis using dried sperm are reviewed in the context of reproductive physiology and cellular morphology in different species.

Pub.: 12 Apr '17, Pinned: 31 Aug '17

Electrophilic aldehyde products of lipid peroxidation selectively adduct to heat shock protein 90 and arylsulfatase A in stallion spermatozoa†.

Abstract: Oxidative stress is a major determinant of mammalian sperm function stimulating lipid peroxidation cascades that culminate in the generation of potentially cytotoxic aldehydes. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of such aldehydes on the functionality of stallion spermatozoa. The impact of exposure to exogenous acrolein (ACR) and 4-hydroxynonenal (4HNE) was manifested in a highly significant dose- and time-dependent increase in mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), total cellular ROS, a decrease in sperm motility, and a time-dependent increase in lipid peroxidation. Notably, low doses of ACR and 4HNE also caused a significant decrease in zona binding. In contrast, exogenous malondialdehyde, a commonly used marker of oxidative stress, had little impact on the various sperm parameters assessed. In accounting for the negative physiological impact of ACR and 4HNE, it was noted that both aldehydes readily adducted to sperm proteins located predominantly within the head, proximal centriole, and tail. The detoxifying activity of mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 appeared responsible for a lack of adduction in the midpiece; however, this activity was overwhelmed by 24 h of electrophilic aldehyde exposure. Sequencing of the dominant proteins targeted for ACR and 4HNE covalent modification identified heat shock protein 90 alpha (cytosolic) class A member 1 and arylsulfatase A, respectively. These collective findings may prove useful in the identification of diagnostic biomarkers of stallion fertility and resolving the mechanistic basis of sperm dysfunction in this species.

Pub.: 11 Apr '17, Pinned: 31 Aug '17

Spermiogenesis in the African sideneck turtle (Pelusios castaneus): Acrosomal vesicle formation and nuclear morphogenesis

Abstract: Testicular samples were collected from African sideneck turtles (Pelusios castaneus) at the peak of spermiogenesis in order to describe spermatid acrosomal vesicle formation and nuclear morphogenesis. Acrosomal vesicle formation commences with a Golgi transport vesicle attaching to a round spermatid, followed by the emergence of an acrosome granule. This is followed by the development of the sub-acrosomal space, which becomes enlarged as nuclear elongation and condensation continue. The round spermatid elongates and the emerging elongating spermatid successively becomes surrounded by circular, longitudinal and slanting microtubules of the manchette. The acrosomal vesicle becomes visible with an acrosome granule resting on the base of the electron dense material. Acrosomal vesicle morphogenesis in the African sideneck turtle results in a highly compartmentalized acrosome divisible into the acrosomal cortex and medulla. The future position of the flagellum starts to develop, being encircled by mitochondria while the distal centriole becomes obvious and the emerging flagellum grossly divisible into the connecting piece, midpiece, principal piece and endpiece. Although acrosomal vesicle formation and nuclear morphogenesis during spermiogenesis in the turtle are consistent with other reptilian species, a few differences were observed. The major difference observed was the formation of a single acrosome granule, which manifests prior to the attachment of the acrosomal vesicle to spermatid nucleus. The other differences observed were the emergence of two endonuclear canals in the elongating spermatid and the presence of slanting microtubules of the manchette. The observed developmental variations are expected to be valuable in future phylogenetic studies and potentially serve to test certain hypotheses concerning the reproductive status of turtle species. Findings from this study add to the growing database of spermatid morphology in turtles, thereby providing insights into variations in mature sperm morphology in the species.

Pub.: 27 Feb '17, Pinned: 31 Aug '17

Identification of EGFLAM, SPATC1L and RNASE13 as novel susceptibility loci for aortic aneurysm in Japanese individuals by exome-wide association studies.

Abstract: We performed an exome-wide association study (EWAS) to identify genetic variants - in particular, low‑frequency or rare variants with a moderate to large effect size - that confer susceptibility to aortic aneurysm with 8,782 Japanese subjects (456 patients with aortic aneurysm, 8,326 control individuals) and with the use of Illumina HumanExome-12 DNA Analysis BeadChip or Infinium Exome-24 BeadChip arrays. The correlation of allele frequencies for 41,432 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that passed quality control to aortic aneurysm was examined with Fisher's exact test. Based on Bonferroni's correction, a P-value of <1.21x10-6 was considered statistically significant. The EWAS revealed 59 SNPs that were significantly associated with aortic aneurysm. None of these SNPs was significantly (P<2.12x10-4) associated with aortic aneurysm by multivariable logistic regression analysis with adjustment for age, gender and hypertension, although 8 SNPs were related (P<0.05) to this condition. Examination of the correlation of these latter 8 SNPs to true or dissecting aortic aneurysm separately showed that rs1465567 [T/C (W229R)] of the EGF-like, fibronectin type III, and laminin G domains gene (EGFLAM) (dominant model; P=0.0014; odds ratio, 1.63) was significantly (P<0.0016) associated with true aortic aneurysm. We next performed EWASs for true or dissecting aortic aneurysm separately and found that 45 and 19 SNPs were significantly associated with these conditions, respectively. Multivariable logistic regression analysis with adjustment for covariates revealed that rs113710653 [C/T (E231K)] of the spermatogenesis- and centriole associated 1-like gene (SPATC1L) (dominant model; P=0.0002; odds ratio, 5.32) and rs143881017 [C/T (R140H)] of the ribonuclease A family member 13 gene (RNASE13) (dominant model; P=0.0006; odds ratio, 5.77) were significantly (P<2.78x10-4 or P<6.58x10-4, respectively) associated with true or dissecting aortic aneurysm, respectively. EGFLAM and SPATC1L may thus be susceptibility loci for true aortic aneurysm and RNASE13 may be such a locus for dissecting aneurysm in Japanese individuals.

Pub.: 25 Mar '17, Pinned: 31 Aug '17

Fifteen years of research on oral-facial-digital syndromes: from 1 to 16 causal genes.

Abstract: Oral-facial-digital syndromes (OFDS) gather rare genetic disorders characterised by facial, oral and digital abnormalities associated with a wide range of additional features (polycystic kidney disease, cerebral malformations and several others) to delineate a growing list of OFDS subtypes. The most frequent, OFD type I, is caused by a heterozygous mutation in the OFD1 gene encoding a centrosomal protein. The wide clinical heterogeneity of OFDS suggests the involvement of other ciliary genes. For 15 years, we have aimed to identify the molecular bases of OFDS. This effort has been greatly helped by the recent development of whole-exome sequencing (WES). Here, we present all our published and unpublished results for WES in 24 cases with OFDS. We identified causal variants in five new genes (C2CD3, TMEM107, INTU, KIAA0753 and IFT57) and related the clinical spectrum of four genes in other ciliopathies (C5orf42, TMEM138, TMEM231 and WDPCP) to OFDS. Mutations were also detected in two genes previously implicated in OFDS. Functional studies revealed the involvement of centriole elongation, transition zone and intraflagellar transport defects in OFDS, thus characterising three ciliary protein modules: the complex KIAA0753-FOPNL-OFD1, a regulator of centriole elongation; the Meckel-Gruber syndrome module, a major component of the transition zone; and the CPLANE complex necessary for IFT-A assembly. OFDS now appear to be a distinct subgroup of ciliopathies with wide heterogeneity, which makes the initial classification obsolete. A clinical classification restricted to the three frequent/well-delineated subtypes could be proposed, and for patients who do not fit one of these three main subtypes, a further classification could be based on the genotype.

Pub.: 16 Mar '17, Pinned: 31 Aug '17