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Cancer Cell. 2005 Jul;8(1):49-59.

Induction of apoptosis by an inhibitor of the mitotic kinesin KSP requires both activation of the spindle assembly checkpoint and mitotic slippage.

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Department of Cancer Research, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, PA 19486, USA.


The inhibition of KSP causes mitotic arrest by activating the spindle assembly checkpoint. While transient inhibition of KSP leads to reversible mitotic arrest, prolonged exposure to a KSP inhibitor induces apoptosis. Induction of apoptosis by the KSP inhibitor couples with mitotic slippage. Slippage-refractory cells show resistance to KSP inhibitor-mediated lethality, whereas promotion of slippage after mitotic arrest enhances apoptosis. However, attenuation of the spindle checkpoint confers resistance to KSP inhibitor-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, sustained KSP inhibition activates the proapoptotic protein, Bax, and both activation of the spindle checkpoint and subsequent mitotic slippage are required for Bax activation. These studies indicate that in response to KSP inhibition, activation of the spindle checkpoint followed by mitotic slippage initiates apoptosis by activating Bax.

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