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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Aug 6;110(32):13026-31. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1308203110. Epub 2013 Jul 22.

Interphase cytofission maintains genomic integrity of human cells after failed cytokinesis.

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University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53705, USA.


In cell division, cytokinesis is tightly coupled with mitosis to maintain genomic integrity. Failed cytokinesis in humans can result in tetraploid cells that can become aneuploid and promote cancer. However, the likelihood of aneuploidy and cancer after a failed cytokinesis event is unknown. Here we evaluated cell fate after failed cytokinesis. We interrupted cytokinesis by brief chemical treatments in cell populations of human epithelial lines. Surprisingly, up to 50% of the resulting binucleate cells generated colonies. In RPE1 cells, 90% of colonies obtained from binucleate founders had a karyotype that matched the parental cell type. Time-lapse videomicroscopy demonstrated that binucleate cells are delayed in the first growth phase of the cell cycle (G1) and undergo interphase cellular fission (cytofission) that distributes nuclei into separate daughters. The fission is not compatible with delayed cytokinesis because events occur in the absence of polymerized microtubules and without canonical components of the cytokinetic machinery. However, the cytofission can be interrupted by inhibiting function of actin or myosin II. Fission events occur in both two- and three-dimensional culture. Our data demonstrate that cytofission can preserve genomic integrity after failed cytokinesis. Thus, traction-mediated cytofission, originally observed in Dictyostelium, is relevant to human biology--where it seems to be an evolutionarily conserved mechanism that can preserve genomic integrity.

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