Multi-polar mitosis is strongly linked with aggressive cancers and it is a histological diagnostic of tumor-grade. However, factors that cause chromosomes to segregate to more than two spindle poles are not well understood. Here we show that cohesins Rad21, Smc1 and Smc3 are required for bipolar mitosis in human cells. After Rad21 depletion, chromosomes align at the metaphase plate and bipolar spindles assemble in most cases, but in anaphase the separated chromatids segregate to multiple poles. Time-lapse microscopy revealed that the spindle poles often become split in Rad21-depleted metaphase cells. Interestingly, exogenous expression of non-cleavable Rad21 results in multi-polar anaphase. Since cohesins are present at the spindle poles in mitosis, these data are consistent with a non-chromosomal function of cohesin.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
L.A.D.M. was partially funded by CONACyT, J.F.G.A. by BFU2008-03579/BMC and P.E. by BFU2008-02947-C02-02/ BMC, and D.J.C. by a seed grant from the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center.