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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Aug 31;107(35):15455-60. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1010627107. Epub 2010 Aug 16.

High-throughput screens in diploid cells identify factors that contribute to the acquisition of chromosomal instability.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Chromosomal instability and the subsequent genetic mutations are considered to be critical factors in the development of the majority of solid tumors, but the mechanisms by which a stable diploid cell loses the ability to maintain genomic integrity are not well characterized. We have approached this critical issue through the use of high-throughput screens in untransformed diploid epithelial cells. In a screen of a cDNA library, we identified 13 kinases whose overexpression leads to increased ploidy. In a series of shRNA screens, we identified 16 kinases whose loss leads to increased ploidy. In both cDNA and shRNA screens, the majority of hits have not been linked previously to genomic stability. We further show that sustained loss of the shRNA screening hits leads to multipolar spindles and heterogeneous chromosome content, two characteristics of chromosomal instability. Loss of several of the kinases leads to loss of contact inhibition and to anchorage-independent growth, vital traits acquired during tumor development. We anticipate that this work will serve as a template for the comprehensive identification of pathways whose dysregulation can drive tumorigenesis through impaired karyotypic maintenance.

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