- Toxicity modelling of Plk1-targeted therapies in genetically engineered mice and cultured primary mammalian cells (2011)
- High attrition rates of novel anti-cancer drugs highlight the need for improved models to predict toxicity. Although polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) inhibitors are attractive candidates for drug development, the role of Plk1 in primary cells remains widely unexplored. Therefore, we evaluated the utility of an RNA interference-based model to assess responses to an inducible knockdown (iKD) of Plk1 in adult mice. Here we show that Plk1 silencing can be achieved in several organs, although adverse events are rare. We compared responses in Plk1-iKD mice with those in primary cells kept under controlled culture conditions. In contrast to the addiction of many cancer cell lines to the non-oncogene Plk1, the primary cells' proliferation, spindle assembly and apoptosis exhibit only a low dependency on Plk1. Responses to Plk1-depletion, both in cultured primary cells and in our iKD-mouse model, correspond well and thus provide the basis for using validated iKD mice in predicting responses to therapeutic interventions.
- Mitotic centromere-associated kinesin (MCAK): a potential cancer drug target (2011)
- The inability to faithfully segregate chromosomes in mitosis results in chromosome instability, a hallmark of solid tumors. Disruption of microtubule dynamics contributes highly to mitotic chromosome instability. The kinesin-13 family is critical in the regulation of microtubule dynamics and the best characterized member of the family, the mitotic centromere-associated kinesin (MCAK), has recently been attracting enormous attention. MCAK regulates microtubule dynamics as a potent depolymerizer of microtubules by removing tubulin subunits from the polymer end. This depolymerizing activity plays pivotal roles in spindle formation, in correcting erroneous attachments of microtubule-kinetochore and in chromosome movement. Thus, the accurate regulation of MCAK is important for ensuring the faithful segregation of chromosomes in mitosis and for safeguarding chromosome stability. In this review we summarize recent data concerning the regulation of MCAK by mitotic kinases, Aurora A/B, Polo-like kinase 1 and cyclin-dependent kinase 1. We propose a molecular model of the regulation of MCAK by these mitotic kinases and relevant phosphatases throughout mitosis. An ever-increasing quantity of data indicates that MCAK is aberrantly regulated in cancer cells. This deregulation is linked to increased malignance, invasiveness, metastasis and drug resistance, most probably due to increased chromosomal instability and remodeling of the microtubule cytoskeleton in cancer cells. Most interestingly, recent observations suggest that MCAK could be a novel molecular target for cancer therapy, as a new cancer antigen or as a mitotic regulator. This collection of new data indicates that MCAK could be a new star in the cancer research sky due to its critical roles in the control of genome stability and the cytoskeleton. Further investigations are required to dissect the fine details of the regulation of MCAK throughout mitosis and its involvements in oncogenesis.