Multifaceted modes of γ-tubulin complex recruitment and microtubule nucleation at mitotic centrosomes
Microtubule nucleation is mediated by γ-tubulin ring complexes (γ-TuRCs). In most eukaryotes, a GCP4/5/4/6 “core” complex promotes γ-tubulin small complex (γ-TuSC) association to generate cytosolic γ-TuRCs. Unlike γ-TuSCs, however, this core complex is non-essential in various species and absent from budding yeasts. In Drosophila, Spindle defective-2 (Spd-2) and Centrosomin (Cnn) redundantly recruit γ-tubulin complexes to mitotic centrosomes. Here, we show that Spd-2 recruits γ-TuRCs formed via the GCP4/5/4/6 core, but Cnn can recruit γ-TuSCs directly via its well-conserved CM1 domain, similar to its homologs in budding yeast. When centrosomes fail to recruit γ-tubulin complexes, they still nucleate microtubules via the TOG domain protein Mini-spindles (Msps), but these microtubules have different dynamic properties. Our data, therefore, help explain the dispensability of the GCP4/5/4/6 core and highlight the robustness of centrosomes as microtubule organizing centers. They also suggest that the dynamic properties of microtubules are influenced by how they are nucleated.