Checkpoints suppress improper cell cycle progression to ensure that cells maintain the integrity of their genome. During mitosis, a metaphase checkpoint requires the integration of all chromosomes into a metaphase array in the mitotic spindle prior to mitotic exit. Still, mitotic errors occur in mammalian cells with a relatively high frequency. Metaphase represents the last point of control in mitosis. Once the cell commits to anaphase there are no checkpoints to sense segregation defects. In this context, we will explore our recent finding that non-transformed mammalian cells have a checkpoint that acts subsequent to mitotic errors to block the proliferation of cells that have entered G1 with tetraploid status. This arrest is dependent upon both p53 and pRb, and may represent an important function of both p53 and pRb as tumor suppressors. Further, we discuss the possibility that this mechanism may similarly impose G1 arrest in cells that become aneuploid through errors in mitosis.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.