Suppression of centrosome protein TACC3 induces G1 arrest and cell death through activation of p38-p53-p21 stress signaling pathway

Eur J Cell Biol. 2015 Feb;94(2):90-100. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcb.2014.12.001. Epub 2015 Jan 5.


The centrosome regulates diverse cellular processes, including cell proliferation and differentiation. TACC3, a member of the human transforming acidic coiled-coil protein family, is a key centrosomal protein that is up-regulated in many cancers. Previous studies have demonstrated that TACC3 is essential for the survival of vertebrates and is involved in cell cycle regulation in human cells. However, the details of the underlying mechanisms in its cell cycle regulatory activity remain poorly understood. In this study, we showed that suppression of TACC3 expression induced G1 cell cycle arrest and triggered cell death in human cells. TACC3 depletion-induced G1 arrest and cell death were significantly reduced in cells either lacking p53 or with pharmacologically-inhibited p38, indicating that G1 arrest and cell death induction both require p53 and p38. TACC3 depletion up-regulated the levels of p53 and p21 and induced the accumulation of p53 both in the nucleus and at the centrosome. Interestingly, TACC3 depletion led to the activation of p38 and stimulated the recruitment of activated p38 to the centrosome. Depletion of TACC3 up-regulated the phosphorylation of p53 at Serine 33, a site known to be phosphorylated by p38 under cellular stress and further induced the accumulation of phosphorylated p53 to the centrosome. Loss of TACC3 affected centrosome integrity by disrupting the localization of components of the γ-tubulin ring complex at the centrosome. The results demonstrate that TACC3 depletion induces G1 arrest and cell death by activating p38-p53-p21 signaling and triggering a centrosome-mediated cellular stress response.

Keywords: Cell cycle; Centrosome; TACC3; p21; p38; p53.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Death* / drug effects
  • Centrosome / metabolism
  • Centrosome / ultrastructure
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / metabolism
  • G1 Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints* / drug effects
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • HCT116 Cells
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • RNA, Small Interfering / pharmacology
  • Serine / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • TACC3 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Serine
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases