Rad6 overexpression induces multinucleation, centrosome amplification, abnormal mitosis, aneuploidy, and transformation

Malathy P.V. Shekhar, Alex Lyakhovich, Daniel W. Visscher, Henry Heng, Noelle Kondrat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


We have isolated by differential RNA display a cDNA that is upregulated in metastatic mammary tumor lines. This cDNA corresponds to HR6B, the yeast homologue of Rad6, a ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme, and a key player in postreplication repair and induced mutagenesis in the yeast. We show that Rad6 protein expressed in metastatic tumor lines is wild type and functional, because it is able to catalyze the transfer of ubiquitin to histone H2b and is predominantly localized in the nucleus as compared with cytoplasmic localization in normal or nonmetastatic mammary cells. This pattern of Rad6 protein expression/localization is not restricted to breast cancer cell lines, because human breast carcinomas display similar patterns of Rad6 up-regulation and nuclear localization suggesting that deregulation in expression of Rad6 may be an important step in transformation to malignant phenotype. Constitutive overexpression of exogenous human HR6B cDNA into normal-behaving MCF10A human breast epithelial cells induced cell-cell fusion that resulted in generation of multinucleated cells, centrosome amplification, multipolar mitotic spindles, aneuploidy, and ability for anchorage-independent growth. Double immunofluorescence labeling experiments demonstrated the colocalization of Rad6 protein with γ-tubulin on centrosomes. This physical association of Rad6 with centrosomes is maintained throughout the interphase and mitotic phases of the cell cycle. The Rad6 protein exhibits notable alterations in distribution during interphase and mitotic stages of the cell cycle that are compatible with its function as a transcription factor. These findings suggest that Rad6 is an important ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme that may play a significant role in the maintenance of genomic integrity of mammalian cells and that an imbalance in the levels and activity of Rad6 could lead to chromosomal instability and transformation in vitro.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2115-2124
Number of pages10
JournalCancer research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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