Research ArticleMitosis

Mitotic phosphorylation by NEK6 and NEK7 reduces the microtubule affinity of EML4 to promote chromosome congression

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Science Signaling  13 Aug 2019:
Vol. 12, Issue 594, eaaw2939
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaw2939

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NEKs and EML4 in cell division

Faithful cell division requires proper separation of duplicated chromosomes into daughter cells. When this process goes awry, the dividing cell or daughter cells carry too many or too few copies (known as aneuploidy), which can cause disease. Microtubule dynamics are critical to this process. The protein EML4, which is abnormally fused to other proteins in some cancers, binds to and stabilizes microtubules, and its presence in the cell is critical for mitotic progression. However, Adib et al. found that upon entry into mitosis, phosphorylation of EML4 by the kinases NEK6 and NEK7 induced its dissociation from microtubules to enable proper chromosome alignment at the spindle equator, ready for subsequent anaphase and cytokinesis. These findings reveal further insight into both the regulation of cell division and how NEKs promote tumor growth.

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