Mini Review ARTICLE

Front. Oncol., 04 June 2014 |

Stressing mitosis to death

  • 1The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • 2St. Vincent’s Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW, Australia

The final stage of cell division (mitosis), involves the compaction of the duplicated genome into chromatid pairs. Each pair is captured by microtubules emanating from opposite spindle poles, aligned at the metaphase plate, and then faithfully segregated to form two identical daughter cells. Chromatids that are not correctly attached to the spindle are detected by the constitutively active spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC). Any stress that prevents correct bipolar spindle attachment, blocks the satisfaction of the SAC, and induces a prolonged mitotic arrest, providing the cell time to obtain attachment and complete segregation correctly. Unfortunately, during mitosis repairing damage is not generally possible due to the compaction of DNA into chromosomes, and subsequent suppression of gene transcription and translation. Therefore, in the presence of significant damage cell death is instigated to ensure that genomic stability is maintained. While most stresses lead to an arrest in mitosis, some promote premature mitotic exit, allowing cells to bypass mitotic cell death. This mini-review will focus on the effects and outcomes that common stresses have on mitosis, and how this impacts on the efficacy of mitotic chemotherapies.

Keywords: mitosis, SAC, spindle, kinetochore, checkpoint, metaphase, DNA damage, Cdk1

Citation: Burgess A, Rasouli M and Rogers S (2014) Stressing mitosis to death. Front. Oncol. 4:140. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2014.00140

Received: 28 March 2014; Accepted: 22 May 2014;
Published online: 04 June 2014.

Edited by:

Megan Chircop, Children’s Medical Research Institute, Australia

Reviewed by:

Rosella Visintin, European Institute of Oncology, Italy
Makoto T. Hayashi, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, USA

Copyright: © 2014 Burgess, Rasouli and Rogers. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Andrew Burgess, The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, 370 Victoria Street, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia e-mail: