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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Sep;1786(1):32-40. doi: 10.1016/j.bbcan.2008.05.003. Epub 2008 May 23.

Merotelic kinetochore orientation, aneuploidy, and cancer.

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Virginia Tech, Department of Biological Sciences, 5036 Derring Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.


Accurate chromosome segregation in mitosis is crucial to maintain a diploid chromosome number. A majority of cancer cells are aneuploid and chromosomally unstable, i.e. they tend to gain and lose chromosomes at each mitotic division. Chromosome mis-segregation can arise when cells progress through mitosis with mis-attached kinetochores. Merotelic kinetochore orientation, a type of mis-attachment in which a single kinetochore binds microtubules from two spindle poles rather than just one, can represent a particular threat for dividing cells, as: (i) it occurs frequently in early mitosis; (ii) it is not detected by the spindle assembly checkpoint (unlike other types of mis-attachments); (iii) it can lead to chromosome mis-segregation, and, hence, aneuploidy. A number of studies have recently started to unveil the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in merotelic kinetochore formation and correction. Here, I review these studies and discuss the relevance of merotelic kinetochore orientation in cancer cell biology.

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