Cancer Science & Therapy

ISSN: 1948-5956

Open Access

Chk1 is required for optimal spindle formation


Eleni Petsalaki

The mitotic spindle consists mainly of microtubules (MTs) and is essential for accurate distribution of chromosomes in the two daughter cells during cell division. Errors in spindle formation can lead to incorrect separation of chromosomes or unequal size of daughter cells, which are associated with carcinogenesis or developmental disorders. However, the molecular mechanisms of spindle formation are not fully understood. In the present study, we show for the first time that Chk1, a kinase involved in the cellular response to DNA damage, is essential for optimal density and effective polymerisation of the spindle MTs in human cells. Chk1 localises to the centrosomes (the main centers of MTs organization) in mitosis and phosphorylates β-tubulin in newly identified sites in vitro. Also, reduced microtubule density in cells without functional Chk1 is associated with formation of disorganized spindles. We suggest that Chk1 phosphorylates β-tubulin to promote optimal spindle MT polymerisation. These findings describe novel mechanisms that could protect against carcinogenesis and developmental disorders, through regulating formation of the mitotic spindle


Eleni Petsalaki has completed her PhD at the age of 28 years at the University of Crete. She is currently a post doctoral research scientist in Dr George Zachos’ Cell Cycle and Division Lab at the University of Crete where she is investigating mechanisms of mitotic cell division in human cells. She has published 8 papers in peer reviewed journals including Nature Communications, Journal of Cell Biology, Journal of Cell Science and others, 2 review articles and 2 commentaries.


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