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Calyculin A, an enhancer of myosin, speeds up anaphase chromosome movement

Lacramioara Fabian, Joanna Troscianczuk and Arthur Forer*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biology, York University, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Canada

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Cell & Chromosome 2007, 6:1  doi:10.1186/1475-9268-6-1

Published: 24 March 2007

Abstract

Actin and myosin inhibitors often blocked anaphase movements in insect spermatocytes in previous experiments. Here we treat cells with an enhancer of myosin, Calyculin A, which inhibits myosin-light-chain phosphatase from dephosphorylating myosin; myosin thus is hyperactivated. Calyculin A causes anaphase crane-fly spermatocyte chromosomes to accelerate poleward; after they reach the poles they often move back toward the equator. When added during metaphase, chromosomes at anaphase move faster than normal. Calyculin A causes prometaphase chromosomes to move rapidly up and back along the spindle axis, and to rotate. Immunofluorescence staining with an antibody against phosphorylated myosin regulatory light chain (p-squash) indicated increased phosphorylation of cleavage furrow myosin compared to control cells, indicating that calyculin A indeed increased myosin phosphorylation. To test whether the Calyculin A effects are due to myosin phosphatase or to type 2 phosphatases, we treated cells with okadaic acid, which inhibits protein phosphatase 2A at concentrations similar to Calyculin A but requires much higher concentrations to inhibit myosin phosphatase. Okadaic acid had no effect on chromosome movement. Backward movements did not require myosin or actin since they were not affected by 2,3-butanedione monoxime or LatruculinB. Calyculin A affects the distribution and organization of spindle microtubules, spindle actin, cortical actin and putative spindle matrix proteins skeletor and titin, as visualized using immunofluorescence. We discuss how accelerated and backwards movements might arise.