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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Nov 17;112(46):E6321-30. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1519388112. Epub 2015 Nov 2.

Chronic centrosome amplification without tumorigenesis.

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San Diego Branch, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, La Jolla, CA 92093;
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10065;
Skaggs School of Pharmacy, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093;
Mouse Cancer Genetics Program, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD 21702;
San Diego Branch, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, La Jolla, CA 92093; Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093


Centrosomes are microtubule-organizing centers that facilitate bipolar mitotic spindle assembly and chromosome segregation. Recognizing that centrosome amplification is a common feature of aneuploid cancer cells, we tested whether supernumerary centrosomes are sufficient to drive tumor development. To do this, we constructed and analyzed mice in which centrosome amplification can be induced by a Cre-recombinase-mediated increase in expression of Polo-like kinase 4 (Plk4). Elevated Plk4 in mouse fibroblasts produced supernumerary centrosomes and enhanced the expected mitotic errors, but proliferation continued only after inactivation of the p53 tumor suppressor. Increasing Plk4 levels in mice with functional p53 produced centrosome amplification in liver and skin, but this did not promote spontaneous tumor development in these tissues or enhance the growth of chemically induced skin tumors. In the absence of p53, Plk4 overexpression generated widespread centrosome amplification, but did not drive additional tumors or affect development of the fatal thymic lymphomas that arise in animals lacking p53. We conclude that, independent of p53 status, supernumerary centrosomes are not sufficient to drive tumor formation.


Plk4 kinase; centrosome amplification; p53; tumorigenesis

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