PloS one

CKAP2 ensures chromosomal stability by maintaining the integrity of microtubule nucleation sites.

PMID 23737987


Integrity of the microtubule spindle apparatus and intact cell division checkpoints are essential to ensure the fidelity of distributing chromosomes into daughter cells. Cytoskeleton-associated protein 2, CKAP2, is a microtubule-associated protein that localizes to spindle poles and aids in microtubule stabilization, but the exact function and mechanism of action are poorly understood. In the present study, we utilized RNA interference to determine the extent to which the expression of CKAP2 plays a role in chromosome segregation. CKAP2-depleted cells showed a significant increase of multipolar mitoses and other spindle pole defects. Notably, when interrogated for microtubule nucleation capacity, CKAP2-depleted cells showed a very unusual phenotype as early as two minutes after release from mitotic block, consisting of dispersal of newly polymerized microtubule filaments through the entire chromatin region, creating a cage-like structure. Nevertheless, spindle poles were formed after one hour of mitotic release suggesting that centrosome-mediated nucleation remained dominant. Finally, we showed that suppression of CKAP2 resulted in a higher incidence of merotelic attachments, anaphase lagging, and polyploidy. Based on these results, we conclude that CKAP2 is involved in the maintenance of microtubule nucleation sites, focusing microtubule minus ends to the spindle poles in early mitosis, and is implicated in maintaining genome stability.