DNA damage response proteins regulating mitotic cell division: double agents preserving genome stability

FEBS J. 2020 May;287(9):1700-1721. doi: 10.1111/febs.15240. Epub 2020 Feb 18.


The DNA damage response recognizes DNA lesions and coordinates a cell cycle arrest with the repair of the damaged DNA, or removal of the affected cells to prevent the passage of genetic alterations to the next generation. The mitotic cell division, on the other hand, is a series of processes that aims to accurately segregate the genomic material from the maternal to the two daughter cells. Despite their great importance in safeguarding genomic integrity, the DNA damage response and the mitotic cell division were long viewed as unrelated processes, mainly because animal cells that are irradiated during mitosis continue cell division without repairing the broken chromosomes. However, recent studies have demonstrated that DNA damage proteins play an important role in mitotic cell division. This is performed through regulation of the onset of mitosis, mitotic spindle formation, correction of misattached kinetochore-microtubules, spindle checkpoint signaling, or completion of cytokinesis (abscission), in the absence of DNA damage. In this review, we summarize the roles of DNA damage proteins in unperturbed mitosis, analyze the molecular mechanisms involved, and discuss the potential implications of these findings in cancer therapy.

Keywords: ATM; ATR; BRCA; Chk1; Chk2; DNA damage; MRN; mitosis; mitotic spindle; spindle checkpoint.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Division
  • DNA Damage*
  • Genomic Instability*
  • Humans
  • Mitosis / genetics*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins