Scientific article
Open access

The spindle assembly checkpoint: clock or domino?

Published inResults and problems in cell differentiation, vol. 53, p. 75-91
Publication date2011

In each cell division, the newly duplicated chromosomes must be evenly distributed between the sister cells. Errors in this process during meiosis or mitosis are equally fatal: improper segregation of the chromosome 21 during human meiosis leads to Down syndrome (Conley, Aneuploidy: etiology and mechanisms, pp 35-89, 1985), whereas in somatic cells, aneuploidy has been linked to carcinogenesis, by unbalancing the ratio of oncogenes and tumor suppressors (Holland and Cleveland, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 10(7):478-487, 2009; Yuen et al., Curr Opin Cell Biol 17(6):576-582, 2005). Eukaryotic cells have developed a mechanism, known as the spindle assembly checkpoint, to detect erroneous attachment of chromosomes to the mitotic/meiotic spindle and delay the cell cycle to give enough time to resolve these defects. Research in the last 20 years, has demonstrated that the spindle assembly checkpoint is not only a pure checkpoint pathway, but plays a constitutive role in every cell cycle. Here, we review our current knowledge of how the spindle assembly checkpoint is integrated into the cell cycle machinery, and discuss some of the questions that have to be addressed in the future.

  • Animals
  • Biological Clocks/genetics/physiology
  • Cell Aging/genetics/physiology
  • Cell Cycle/genetics/physiology
  • Genes, cdc/physiology
  • Humans
  • Mitotic Spindle Apparatus/genetics/pathology/physiology
Citation (ISO format)
DE MEDINA-REDONDO, María, MERALDI, Patrick. The spindle assembly checkpoint: clock or domino? In: Results and problems in cell differentiation, 2011, vol. 53, p. 75–91. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-19065-0_4
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0080-1844

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