Pfaff, K.L., Straub, C.T., Chiang, K., Bear, D.M., Zhou, Y., and Zon, L.I. (2007) The Zebra fish cassiopeia Mutant Reveals that SIL Is Required for Mitotic Spindle Organization. Molecular and cellular biology. 27(16):5887-5897.
A critical step in cell division is formation of the mitotic spindle, which is a bipolar array of microtubules that mediates chromosome separation. Here, we report that SCL-interrupting locus (SIL), a vertebrate-specific cytosolic protein, is necessary for proper mitotic spindle organization in zebrafish and human cells. A homozygous lethal zebrafish mutant, cassiopeia (csp), was identified from a genetic screen for mitotic mutants. csp mutant embryos have an increased mitotic index, highly disorganized mitotic spindles, and often lack one or both centrosomes. These phenotypes are caused by a loss-of-function mutation in zebrafish sil. To determine if the requirement for SIL in mitotic spindle organization is conserved in mammals, we generated an antibody against human SIL, which revealed that SIL localizes to the poles of the mitotic spindle during metaphase. Furthermore, shRNA knockdown of SIL in human cells recapitulates the zebrafish csp mitotic spindle defects. These data, taken together, identify SIL as a novel vertebrate-specific regulator of mitotic spindle assembly.