MAP kinase meets mitosis: a role for Raf Kinase Inhibitory Protein in spindle checkpoint regulation

Cell Div. 2007 Jan 10;2:1. doi: 10.1186/1747-1028-2-1.

Abstract

Raf Kinase Inhibitory Protein (RKIP) is an evolutionarily conserved protein that functions as a modulator of signaling by the MAP kinase cascade. Implicated as a metastasis suppressor, Raf Kinase Inhibitory Protein depletion correlates with poor prognosis for breast, prostate and melanoma tumors but the mechanism is unknown. Recent evidence indicates that Raf Kinase Inhibitory Protein regulates the mitotic spindle assembly checkpoint by controlling Aurora B Kinase activity, and the mechanism involves Raf/MEK/ERK signaling. In contrast to elevated MAP kinase signaling during the G1, S or G2 phases of the cell cycle that activates checkpoints and induces arrest or senescence, loss of RKIP during M phase leads to bypass of the spindle assembly checkpoint and the generation of chromosomal abnormalities. These results reveal a role for Raf Kinase Inhibitory Protein and the MAP kinase cascade in ensuring the fidelity of chromosome segregation prior to cell division. Furthermore, these data highlight the need for precise titration of the MAP kinase signal to ensure the integrity of the spindle assembly process and provide a mechanism for generating genomic instability in tumors. Finally, these results raise the possibility that RKIP status in tumors could influence the efficacy of treatments such as poisons that stimulate the Aurora B-dependent spindle assembly checkpoint.