Mitosis and mitochondrial priming for apoptosis

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Abstract

Cell division is a period of danger for cells, as inaccurate segregation of chromosomes can lead to loss of cell viability or aneuploidy. In order to protect against these dangers, cells ultimately initiate mitochondrial apoptosis if they are unable to correctly exit mitosis. A number of important chemotherapeutics exploit this response to delayed mitotic exit, but despite this, the molecular mechanism of the apoptotic timer in mitosis has proved elusive. Some recent studies have now shed light on this, showing how passage through the cell cycle fine-tunes a cell's apoptotic sensitivity such that it can respond appropriately when errors arise.

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