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J Cell Physiol. 2014 Dec;229(12):1881-3. doi: 10.1002/jcp.24691.

Spindle microtubule dysfunction and cancer predisposition.

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  • 1Vermont Cancer Center and Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont.


Chromosome segregation and spindle microtubule dynamics are strictly coordinated during cell division in order to preserve genomic integrity. Alterations in the genome that affect microtubule stability and spindle assembly during mitosis may contribute to genomic instability and cancer predisposition, but directly testing this potential link poses a significant challenge. Germ-line mutations in tumor suppressor genes that predispose patients to cancer and alter spindle microtubule dynamics offer unique opportunities to investigate the relationship between spindle dysfunction and carcinogenesis. Mutations in two such tumor suppressors, adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) and Shwachman-Bodian-Diamond syndrome (SBDS), affect multifunctional proteins that have been well characterized for their roles in Wnt signaling and interphase ribosome assembly, respectively. Less understood, however, is how their shared involvement in stabilizing the microtubules that comprise the mitotic spindle contributes to cancer predisposition. Here, we briefly discuss the potential for mutations in APC and SBDS as informative tools for studying the impact of mitotic spindle dysfunction on cellular transformation.

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