p78/MCRS1 forms a complex with centrosomal protein Nde1 and is essential for cell viability

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The centrosome, an organelle that functions as the major microtubule-organizing center, plays an essential role in the formation of the mitotic spindle and guiding accurate chromosome segregation. Centrosome aberrations are frequently associated with various forms of human cancers and it is thought that defects in this organelle contribute to genomic instability and malignant transformation. We recently identified and characterized a centrosome-localized protein complex that is comprised of Su48 and Nde1. Disruption of the normal function of these proteins leads to abnormal cell division. To extend our understanding of how this protein complex operates, we sought to identify Nde1-interacting molecules by the yeast two-hybrid screening method. Here, we demonstrate that both Nde1 and Su48 can associate with p78/MCRS1, a protein implicated in cancer development. We found that, whereas the majority of p78 localizes to the nucleus as reported in earlier studies, a fraction of the p78 protein can be detected in the centrosome. Moreover, we determined that a region containing the forkhead-associated domain of p78 is involved in association with Nde1 and Su48, as well as in centrosomal localization. We also provide evidence that the association between p78 and Nde1 is regulated by phosphorylation on Nde1. Furthermore, abrogation of the endogenous p78 function by small interfering RNA knockdown causes cell death and a modest delay in mitosis. These results indicate that a subset of the p78 proteins comprises a component of the centrosome and that p78 is essential for cell viability.

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