Merotelic kinetochore attachment: causes and effects

Trends Cell Biol. 2011 Jun;21(6):374-81. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2011.01.003. Epub 2011 Feb 8.


Accurate chromosome segregation depends on the proper attachment of sister kinetochores to microtubules emanating from opposite spindle poles. Merotelic kinetochore orientation is an error in which a single kinetochore is attached to microtubules emanating from both spindle poles. Despite correction mechanisms, merotelically attached kinetochores can persist until anaphase, causing chromatids to lag on the mitotic spindle and hindering their timely segregation. Recent studies showing that merotelic kinetochore attachment represents a major mechanism of aneuploidy in mitotic cells and is the primary mechanism of chromosomal instability in cancer cells have underlined the importance of studying merotely. Here, we highlight recent progress in our understanding of how cells prevent and correct merotelic kinetochore attachments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Segregation
  • Humans
  • Kinetochores*
  • Mitosis
  • Models, Biological