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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Aug 14;109(33):E2205-14. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201911109. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

Up-regulation of the mitotic checkpoint component Mad1 causes chromosomal instability and resistance to microtubule poisons.

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Department of Cell and Regenerative Biology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53705, USA.


The mitotic checkpoint is the major cell cycle checkpoint acting during mitosis to prevent aneuploidy and chromosomal instability, which are hallmarks of tumor cells. Reduced expression of the mitotic checkpoint component Mad1 causes aneuploidy and promotes tumors in mice [Iwanaga Y, et al. (2007) Cancer Res 67:160-166]. However, the prevalence and consequences of Mad1 overexpression are currently unclear. Here we show that Mad1 is frequently overexpressed in human cancers and that Mad1 up-regulation is a marker of poor prognosis. Overexpression of Mad1 causes aneuploidy and chromosomal instability through weakening mitotic checkpoint signaling caused by mislocalization of the Mad1 binding partner Mad2. Cells overexpressing Mad1 are resistant to microtubule poisons, including currently used chemotherapeutic agents. These results suggest that levels of Mad1 must be tightly regulated to prevent aneuploidy and transformation and that Mad1 up-regulation may promote tumors and cause resistance to current therapies.

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