Novel Mitotic Checkpoint Gene
Wistar researchers have identified a new mitotic checkpoint gene, chfr, that is expressed in normal tissues but is either absent or mutated in many cancer cell lines. When dividing cells that express the wild-type chfr are exposed to nocodazole, which inhibits microtubule formation, they become arrested at prophase, while cells that lack a functional chfr gene proceed through the cell cycle and division.
The restoration of normal chfr function may be a useful target for cancer therapy. Loss of chfr function in tumor cells may be indicative of cancers that are sensitive to chemotherapy.