Centrosome Clustering in the Development of Bovine Binucleate Trophoblast Giant Cells

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Binucleate trophoblast giant cells (BNC) are the characteristic feature of the ruminant placenta. During their development, BNC pass through 2 acytokinetic mitoses and become binucleate with 2 tetraploid nuclei. In this study, we investigate the number and location of centrosomes in bovine BNC. Centrosomes typically consist of 2 centrioles surrounded by electron-dense pericentriolar material. Duplication of centrosomes is tightly linked to the cell cycle, which ensures that the number of centrosomes remains constant in proliferating diploid cells. Alterations of the cell cycle, which affect the number of chromosome sets, also affect the number of centrosomes. In this study, we use placentomal tissue from pregnant cows (gestational days 80-230) for immunohistochemical staining of γ-tubulin (n = 3) and transmission electron microscopy (n = 3). We show that mature BNC have 4 centrosomes with 8 centrioles, clustered in the angle between the 2 cell nuclei. During the second acytokinetic mitosis, the centrosomes must be clustered to form the poles of a bipolar spindle. In rare cases, centrosome clustering fails and tripolar mitosis leads to the formation of trinucleate “BNC”. Generally, centrosome clustering occurs in polyploid tumor cells, which have an increased number of centrioles, but it is absent in proliferating diploid cells. Thus, inhibition of centrosome clustering in tumor cells is a novel promising strategy for cancer treatment. BNC are a cell population in which centrosome clustering occurs as part of the normal life history. Thus, they might be a good model for the study of the molecular mechanisms of centrosome clustering.

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