Differential functional interplay of TOGp/XMAP215 and the KinI kinesin MCAK during interphase and mitosis

EMBO J. 2004 Feb 11;23(3):627-37. doi: 10.1038/sj.emboj.7600076. Epub 2004 Jan 29.


XMAP215/TOGp family members and KinI kinesins are conserved microtubule (MT)-regulatory proteins, and have been viewed as possessing prominent antagonistic stabilizing/destabilizing activities that must be balanced. Here, interdependencies between TOGp and the KinI kinesin MCAK were analyzed in human leukemia cells. A system was established that permits inducible overexpression in homogeneous cell populations that simultaneously synthesize interfering short hairpin RNAs. We present evidence that the functional interplay of TOGp and MCAK proteins is manifested as three distinct phenotypes during the cell cycle. The first involves a role for TOGp in protecting spindle MTs from MCAK activity at the centrosome, which appears essential to prevent the formation of disorganized multipolar spindles. The second phenotype involves TOGp-dependent counteraction of excessive MCAK activity during mitosis, which recapitulates the previously established plus-end specific counteractive activities in vitro. The third involves an unexpected destabilization of the interphase MTs by overexpressed TOGp, a phenotype that requires endogenous MCAK. We hypothesize that TOGp-dependent prevention of MCAK-mediated spindle disorganization, as evidenced by depletion experiments, reflects a primary physiological role for TOGp in human somatic cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Interphase / physiology*
  • K562 Cells
  • Kinesins / metabolism*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mitosis / physiology*
  • Spindle Apparatus / metabolism*


  • CKAP5 protein, human
  • KIF2C protein, human
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Kinesins