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PLoS One. 2010 Sep 28;5(9). pii: e13037. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013037.

Sustained spindle-assembly checkpoint response requires de novo transcription and translation of cyclin B1.

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Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Oeiras, Portugal.



Microtubule-targeting drugs induce mitotic delay at pro-metaphase by preventing the spindle assembly checkpoint to be satisfied. However, especially after prolonged treatments, cells can escape this arrest in a process called mitotic slippage. The mechanisms underlying the spindle assembly checkpoint and slippage are not fully understood. It has been generally accepted that during mitosis there is a temporary shutdown of high-energy-consuming processes, such as transcription and translation. However, the synthesis of specific proteins is maintained or up-regulated since protein synthesis is necessary for entry into and progression through mitosis.


In this work we investigated whether the mitotic arrest caused by the mitotic checkpoint is independent of transcription and translation. By using immunofluorescent microscopy and western blotting, we demonstrate that inhibition of either of these processes induces a shortening of the mitotic arrest caused by the nocodazole treatment, and ultimately leads to mitotic slippage. Our western blotting and RTQ-PCR results show that inhibition of transcription during mitotic arrest does not affect the expression of the spindle checkpoint proteins, whereas it induces a significant decrease in the mRNA and protein levels of Cyclin B1. The exogenous expression of Cyclin B1 substantially rescued the mitotic phenotype in nocodazole cells treated with the inhibitors of transcription and translation.


This work emphasizes the importance of transcription and translation for the maintenance of the spindle assembly checkpoint, suggesting the existence of a mechanism dependent on cyclin B1 gene regulation during mitosis. We propose that continuous transcription of mitotic regulators is required to sustain the activation of the spindle assembly checkpoint.

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