Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Two are better than one – another checkpoint enzyme for flawless cell division

07.07.2015

The error-free distribution of genetic material during cell division is important for preventing the development of tumor cells. Prof. Erich Nigg’s research group at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has uncovered a new important function of the human enzyme Plk1. It plays a significant role in monitoring chromosome segregation. The results published in the journal "Cell Reports" may provide important clues for the treatment of cancer.

Each day, the cells of the human body divide billions of times; this also requires duplication of their genetic information. Errors in cell division can cause tumor formation, and an exact segregation of the DNA (chromosomes) is therefore essential to ensure the health of the whole organism.


Mitotic spindle apparatus preparing for chromosome segregation: an unaligned chromosome activates the checkpoint (green) and thereby prevents premature segregation.

© University of Basel, Biozentrum

Prof. Erich Nigg’s research group at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has demonstrated that the enzyme Plk1 plays a significant role in monitoring the segregation of chromosomes.

Plk1 has checkpoint function

The segregation of the 23 chromosome pairs of human cells only occurs when all parameters are correct. This is ensured by a surveillance process, a so-called checkpoint. Central to this checkpoint is an inhibitor formed on the chromosomes, called mitotic checkpoint complex (MCC), which prevents cell division until all settings on the mitotic spindle, the chromosome segregation apparatus, are correct.

“Just like the enzyme Mps1, Plk1 also ensures the assembly of the MCC and finally the inhibition of cell division,” says the first author Conrad von Schubert. “Plk1 thus also has a checkpoint function and consequently safeguards chromosome segregation.”

In the past, various functions have been attributed to the enzyme Plk1, including the correct assembly and disassembly of the mitotic spindle. “The newly uncovered checkpoint function of Plk1 had been overlooked, however, since other functions obscured this phenomenon,” explains Conrad von Schubert.

The research team could now demonstrate that Plk1 influences the inhibitor MCC via at least two pathways. In a nutshell, Plk1 supports the enzyme Mps1, whose checkpoint function had already been known for some time. “Plk1 ensures rapid and robust checkpoint activation by acting in a similar way to Mps1, thus reinforcing Mps1 activity,” says Conrad von Schubert.

Plk1 demonstrates evolutionary stability

“While Plk1 and Mps1 cooperate in human cells, Plk1 has prevailed over Mps1 during the evolution of other organisms,” remarks Conrad von Schubert. Because Mps1 has disappeared in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, Plk1 has taken over the entire checkpoint function in this organism, as shown by an independent study in the same issue of the journal.

Combined drugs against cancer?

Mps1 is currently being investigated as a possible target for the treatment of cancer. “However, the fact that Plk1 also exhibits checkpoint function during cell division was not known,” says Conrad von Schubert. The new findings suggest that both enzymes should be considered as targets for cancer therapy. “Drugs against Plk1 were developed some time ago and, in light of our findings, it would be interesting to test the potential of a combinatorial treatment.”

Original article

Conrad von Schubert, Fabien Cubizolles, Jasmine M. Bracher, Tale Sliedrecht, Geert J.P.L. Kops, and Erich A. Nigg
Plk1 and Mps1 Cooperatively Regulate the Spindle Assembly Checkpoint in Human Cells
Cell Reports, published online June 25, 2015, doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.06.007

Further Information

Prof. Dr. Erich Nigg, University of Basel, Biozentrum, phone: +41 61 267 16 56, email: erich.nigg@unibas.ch

Olivia Poisson | Universität Basel
Further information:
http://www.unibas.ch

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht ‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New research identifies how 3-D printed metals can be both strong and ductile

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

11.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

What makes corals sick?

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>