The mitotic spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) is an essential control system of the eukaryotic cell cycle. This surveillance mechanism monitors the kinetochore, the multi-component complex that assembles on the centromeric DNA and attaches chromosomes to the microtubules of the spindle. The recruitment of mitotic checkpoint proteins to kinetochores that are not correctly attached to microtubules initiates a signalling cascade that results in the CDC20-dependent inhibition of the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C). Mutations in the genes encoding for diverse SAC proteins have been identified in human tumour cells and associated with chromosome segregation and cancer progression. This work describes the current understanding on the organisation, function and structure of SAC components and shows this knowledge assists the identification of those that may constitute suitable targets for the clinical treatment of cancer.
Keywords: Mitotic spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), genome instability, cell cycle, anticancer therapy, BUB1/BUBR1, CDC20-MAD2, CENP-E, fragment-based screening
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