The Emerging Role of the Cytoskeleton in Chromosome Dynamics

Front Genet. 2017 May 19;8:60. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2017.00060. eCollection 2017.


Chromosomes underlie a dynamic organization that fulfills functional roles in processes like transcription, DNA repair, nuclear envelope stability, and cell division. Chromosome dynamics depend on chromosome structure and cannot freely diffuse. Furthermore, chromosomes interact closely with their surrounding nuclear environment, which further constrains chromosome dynamics. Recently, several studies enlighten that cytoskeletal proteins regulate dynamic chromosome organization. Cytoskeletal polymers that include actin filaments, microtubules and intermediate filaments can connect to the nuclear envelope via Linker of the Nucleoskeleton and Cytoskeleton (LINC) complexes and transfer forces onto chromosomes inside the nucleus. Monomers of these cytoplasmic polymers and related proteins can also enter the nucleus and play different roles in the interior of the nucleus than they do in the cytoplasm. Nuclear cytoskeletal proteins can act as chromatin remodelers alone or in complexes with other nuclear proteins. They can also act as transcription factors. Many of these mechanisms have been conserved during evolution, indicating that the cytoskeletal regulation of chromosome dynamics is an essential process. In this review, we discuss the different influences of cytoskeletal proteins on chromosome dynamics by focusing on the well-studied model organism budding yeast.

Keywords: chromosomes; cytoskeleton; dynamics; nucleus; yeast.

Publication types

  • Review