Holmfeldt P, Sellin ME, Gullberg M
Experimental Cell Research 316 (12) 2017-2026 [2010-07-00; online 2010-07-00]
Op18/stathmin (Op18) is a microtubule-destabilizing protein that is phosphorylation-inactivated during mitosis and its normal function is to govern tubulin subunit partitioning during interphase. Human tumors frequently overexpress Op18 and a tumor-associated Q18-->E mutation has been identified that confers hyperactivity, destabilizes spindle microtubules, and causes mitotic aberrancies, polyploidization, and chromosome loss in K562 leukemia cells. Here we determined whether wild-type and mutant Op18 have the potential to cause chromosomal instability by some means other than interference with spindle assembly, and thereby bypassing the spindle assembly checkpoint. Our approach was based on Op18 derivatives with distinct temporal order of activity during mitosis, conferred either by differential phosphorylation inactivation or by anaphase-specific degradation through fusion with the destruction box of cyclin B1. We present evidence that excessive Op18 activity generates chromosomal instability through interference occurring subsequent to the metaphase-to-anaphase transition, which reduces the fidelity of chromosome segregation to spindle poles during anaphase. Similar to uncorrected merotelic attachment, this mechanism evades detection by the spindle assembly checkpoint and thus provides an additional route to chromosomal instability.