NuSAP is a microtubule-associated protein that plays an important role in spindle assembly. NuSAP deficiency in mice leads to early embryonic lethality. Spindle assembly in NuSAP-deficient cells is highly inefficient and chromosomes remain dispersed in the mitotic cytoplasm. ATM is a key kinase that phosphorylates a series of substrates to mediate G1/S control. However, the role of ATM at the G2/M phase is not well understood. Here we demonstrate that ectopic expression of NuSAP lead to mitotic arrest observably dependent on the kinase activity of ATM. When endogenous ATM was depleted or its kinase activity was inhibited, NuSAP could not cause mitotic arrest. We further show ATM interacts with NuSAP and phosphorylates NuSAP on Ser124. The phosphorylation and interaction occur specifically at G2/M-phase. Collectively, our work has uncovered an ATM-dependent checkpoint pathway that prevents mitotic progression by targeting a microtubule-associated protein, NuSAP.
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