ERK Plays a Role in Chromosome Alignment and Participates in M-Phase Progression

Erika Iwamoto, Natsumi Ueta, Yuki Matsui, Keiju Kamijo, Takahisa Kuga, Youhei Saito, Naoto Yamaguchi, Yuji Nakayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Cell division, a prerequisite for cell proliferation, is a process in which each daughter cell inherits one complete set of chromosomes. The mitotic spindle is a dedicated apparatus for the alignment and segregation of chromosomes. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 plays crucial roles in cell cycle progression, particularly during M-phase. Although, association with the mitotic spindle has been reported, the precise roles played by ERK in the dynamics of the mitotic spindle and in M-phase progression remain to be elucidated. In this study, we used MEK inhibitors U0126 and GSK1120212 to dissect the roles of ERK in M-phase progression and chromosome alignment. Fluorescence microscopy revealed that ERK is localized to the spindle microtubules in a manner independent of Src kinase, which is one of the kinases upstream of ERK at mitotic entry. ERK inhibition induces an increase in the number of prophase cells and a decrease in the number of anaphase cells. Time-lapse imaging revealed that ERK inhibition perturbs chromosome alignment, thereby preventing cells from entering anaphase. These results suggest that ERK plays a role in M-phase progression by regulating chromosome alignment and demonstrate one of the mechanisms by which the aberration of ERK signaling may produce cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1340-1351
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 1


  • ERK
  • GSK1120212
  • U0126

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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