PloS one

Cdk4 and nek2 signal binucleation and centrosome amplification in a her2+ breast cancer model.

PMID 23776583


Centrosome amplification (CA) is a contributor to carcinogenesis, generating aneuploidy, and chromosome instability. Previous work shows that breast adenocarcinomas have a higher frequency of centrosome defects compared to normal breast tissues. Abnormal centrosome phenotypes are found in pre-malignant lesions, suggesting an early role in breast carcinogenesis. However, the role of CA in breast cancers remains elusive. Identification of pathways and regulatory molecules involved in the generation of CA is essential to understanding its role in breast tumorigenesis. We established a breast cancer model of CA using Her2-positive cells. Our goal was to identify centrosome cycle molecules that are deregulated by aberrant Her2 signaling and the mechanisms driving CA. Our results show some Her2+ breast cancer cell lines harbor both CA and binucleation. Abolishing the expression of Cdk4 abrogated both CA and binucleation in these cells. We also found the source of binucleation in these cells to be defective cytokinesis that is normalized by downregulation of Cdk4. Protein levels of Nek2 diminish upon Cdk4 knockdown and vice versa, suggesting a molecular connection between Cdk4 and Nek2. Knockdown of Nek2 reduces CA and binucleation in this model while its overexpression further enhances centrosome amplification. We conclude that CA is modulated through Cdk4 and Nek2 signaling and that binucleation is a likely source of CA in Her2+ breast cancer cells.