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The Ku70 DNA-repair protein is involved in centromere function in a grasshopper species

Cabrero, Josefa, Bakkali, Mohammed, Navarro-Domínguez, Beatriz, Ruíz-Ruano, Francisco J., Martín-Blázquez, Rubén, López-León, María Dolores, Camacho, Juan Pedro M.
Chromosome research 2013 v.21 no.4 pp. 393-406
DNA repair, Eyprepocnemis plorans, RNA interference, anaphase, centromeres, cytokinesis, genes, grasshoppers, males, metaphase, mice, spermatids
The Ku70 protein is involved in numerous cell functions, the nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) DNA repair pathway being the best known. Here, we report a novel function for this protein in the grasshopper Eyprepocnemis plorans. We observed the presence of large Ku70 foci on the centromeres of meiotic and mitotic chromosomes during the cell cycle stages showing the highest centromeric activity (i.e., metaphase and anaphase). The fact that colchicine treatment prevented centromeric location of Ku70, suggests a microtubule-dependent centromeric function for Ku70. Likewise, the absence of Ku70 at metaphase–anaphase centromeres from three males whose Ku70 gene had been knocked down using interference RNA, and the dramatic increase in the frequency of polyploid spermatids observed in these males, suggest that the centromeric presence of Ku70 is required for normal cytokinesis in this species. The centromeric function of Ku70 was not observed in 14 other grasshopper and locust species, or in the mouse, thus suggesting that it is an autapomorphy in E. plorans.