Proteins required for centrosome clustering in cancer cells

Blanka Leber, Bettina Maier, Florian Fuchs, Jing Chi, Phillip Riffel, Simon Anderhub, Ludmila Wagner, Anthony D. Ho, Jeffrey L. Salisbury, Michael Boutros, Alwin Krämer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Current cancer chemotherapies are limited by the lack of tumor-specific targets, which would allow for selective eradication of malignant cells without affecting healthy tissues. In contrast to normal cells, most tumor cells contain multiple centrosomes, which tend to cause the formation of multipolar mitotic spindles, chromosome segregation defects, and cell death. Nevertheless, many cancer cells divide successfully because they can cluster multiple centrosomes into two spindle poles. Inhibition of this centrosomal clustering, with consequent induction of multipolar spindles and subsequent cell death, would specifically target cancer cells and overcome one limitation of current cancer treatments. We have performed a genome-wide RNA interference screen to identify proteins involved in the prevention of spindle multipolarity in human cancer cells with supernumerary centrosomes. The chromosomal passenger complex, Ndc80 microtubule-kinetochore attachment complex, sister chromatid cohesion, and microtubule formation via the augmin complex were identified as necessary for centrosomal clustering. We show that spindle tension is required to cluster multiple centrosomes into a bipolar spindle array in tumor cells with extra centrosomes. These findings may explain the specificity of drugs that interfere with spindle tension for cancer cells and provide entry points for the development of therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number33ra38
JournalScience translational medicine
Issue number33
StatePublished - May 26 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Proteins required for centrosome clustering in cancer cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this