The Spindle Assembly Checkpoint in Arabidopsis Is Rapidly Shut Off during Severe Stress

Dev Cell. 2017 Oct 23;43(2):172-185.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2017.09.017.


The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) in animals and yeast assures equal segregation of chromosomes during cell division. The prevalent occurrence of polyploidy in flowering plants together with the observation that many plants can be readily forced to double their genomes by application of microtubule drugs raises the question of whether plants have a proper SAC. Here, we provide a functional framework of the core SAC proteins in Arabidopsis. We reveal that Arabidopsis will delay mitosis in a SAC-dependent manner if the spindle is perturbed. However, we also show that the molecular architecture of the SAC is unique in plants. Moreover, the SAC is short-lived and cannot stay active for more than 2 hr, after which the cell cycle is reset. This resetting opens the possibility for genome duplications and raises the hypothesis that a rapid termination of a SAC-induced mitotic arrest provides an adaptive advantage for plants impacting plant genome evolution.

Keywords: Arabidopsis; breeding; cell cycle; cell division; evolution; microtubules; plant cell biology; polyploidy; spindle assembly checkpoint; spindle check point.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints / physiology*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Mitosis / physiology*
  • Spindle Apparatus / physiology*
  • Stress, Physiological*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins