Mitotic perturbations induced by Nek2 overexpression require interaction with TRF1 in breast cancer cells

Jaehyung Lee, Lauren Gollahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


NIMA-related kinase 2 (Nek2), a serine-threonine protein kinase, plays a major role in mitotic progression, including timing of mitotic entry, chromatin condensation, spindle organization, and cytokinesis. Nek2 overexpression results in premature centrosome separation, while kinase death Nek2 mutant expression or Nek2-depleted cells lead to centrosome separation failure. In addition, it has been revealed that telomeric repeat binding factor 1 (TRF1) interacts directly with Nek2. TRF1 not only regulates telomere length, but is also associated with cell cycle regulation. However, the interactions and correlations between Nek2 and TRF1 are far from clear. Here, we show that mitotic aberrations through Nek2 overexpression are likely to require TRF1. Our results demonstrate that Nek2 directly binds and phosphorylates TRF1 through multiple sites on TRF1. Nek2 overexpression in breast cancer cells, MDA-MB-231 and MCF7, results in increased numbers of centrosomes and multinucleated cells, which leads to cytokinetic failure and aneuploidization. Additionally, TRF1 depletion by siRNA prevents the phenomenon of unaligned chromosomes by Nek2 overexpression during metaphase. Concurrent Nek2 overexpression and TRF1-depleted cells demonstrated ≤ 2 centrosomes per cell, similar to mock plasmid and negative control siRNA-transfected cells. Interestingly, when exogenous TRF1 was added back in Nek2-overexpressed cells with endogenous TRF1 depletion, cells had re-induced cytokinetic failure. Therefore, we propose that TRF1 is required for overexpressed Nek2 to trigger abnormal mitosis and chromosomal instability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3599-3614
Number of pages16
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013


  • Chromosomal instability
  • Cytokinetic failure
  • Mitotic aberration
  • Nek2
  • TRF1


Dive into the research topics of 'Mitotic perturbations induced by Nek2 overexpression require interaction with TRF1 in breast cancer cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this