Maintaining the proper connection between the centrioles and the pericentriolar matrix requires Drosophila centrosomin.
Lucas EP., Raff JW.
Centrosomes consist of two centrioles surrounded by an amorphous pericentriolar matrix (PCM), but it is unknown how centrioles and PCM are connected. We show that the centrioles in Drosophila embryos that lack the centrosomal protein Centrosomin (Cnn) can recruit PCM components but cannot maintain a proper attachment to the PCM. As a result, the centrioles "rocket" around in the embryo and often lose their connection to the nucleus in interphase and to the spindle poles in mitosis. This leads to severe mitotic defects in embryos and to errors in centriole segregation in somatic cells. The Cnn-related protein CDK5RAP2 is linked to microcephaly in humans, but cnn mutant brains are of normal size, and we observe only subtle defects in the asymmetric divisions of mutant neuroblasts. We conclude that Cnn maintains the proper connection between the centrioles and the PCM; this connection is required for accurate centriole segregation in somatic cells but is not essential for the asymmetric division of neuroblasts.