RPL41, a small ribosomal peptide deregulated in tumors, is essential for mitosis and centrosome integrity

Neoplasia. 2010 Mar;12(3):284-93. doi: 10.1593/neo.91610.


Ribosomal large subunit protein RPL41 is a basic (positively charged) peptide consisting of only 25 amino acids. An antisense-based functional screening revealed that the down-regulation of RPL41 led to an anchorage-independent growth of NIH3T3 cells in soft agar plates. RPL41 depletion with gene-specific small interfering RNA also resulted in malignant transformation of NIH3T3 cells including increased tumor growth in mice. RPL41 deletion was detected in 59% of tumor cell lines by fluorescence in situ hybridization analyses and RPL41 down-regulation in 75% of primary breast cancers by real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. These studies suggest a tumor suppression role for RPL41. By mass spectrometry, RPL41 was associated with several cytoskeleton components including tubulin beta, gamma, and myosin IIA, which was confirmed by Western blot analysis on both cellular lysis and individually in vitro-expressed proteins. RPL41 also bound directly to polymerized tubulins. Cells overexpressing a GFP-RPL41 were resistant to nocodazole-induced microtubule depolymerization. A synthetic RPL41 induced cellular alpha-tubulin acetylation and G(2)/M cell cycle arrest. These results indicate a stabilizing role of RPL41 on microtubule. Microtubule spindles are essential for chromosome segregation during mitosis. Cells with RPL41 knock-down showed abnormal spindles, frequent failure of cytokinesis, and formation of polynuclear cells. In interphase cells, RPL41-depleted cells had premature splitting of centrosome. Our results provide evidence that RPL41 is a microtubule-associated protein essential for functional spindles and for the integrity of centrosome and that the abnormal mitosis and disrupted centrosome associated with the RPL41 down-regulation may be related to malignant transformation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Centrosome / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Mice
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Mitosis / physiology*
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • RNA, Small Interfering / pharmacology
  • Ribosomal Proteins / physiology*
  • Spindle Apparatus / pathology
  • Tubulin / metabolism


  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Ribosomal Proteins
  • Tubulin
  • RPL41 protein, human