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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2009 Dec;21(6):785-95. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Oct 19.

Sister chromatid tension and the spindle assembly checkpoint.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.


The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) is a feedback control system that monitors the state of kinetochore/microtubule attachment during mitosis and halts cell cycle progression until all chromosomes are properly aligned at the metaphase plate. The state of chromosome-microtubule attachment is implicated as a crucial factor in the checkpoint response. On the contrary, lack of tension in the centromere-kinetochore region of sister chromatids has been shown to regulate a pathway of correction of undesired chromosome-microtubule connections, while the presence of tension is believed to promote the stabilization of attachments. We discuss how tension-sensitive phenomena, such as attachment correction and stabilization, relate to the SAC and we speculate on the existence of a single pathway linking error correction and SAC activation.

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