[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A hallmark of cancer is inactivation of cell cycle checkpoints. However, very few mutations targeting mitotic checkpoint genes have been described, and in those instances, a wild-type copy of the gene was retained. chfr is a mitotic checkpoint gene that functions in early prophase delaying chromosome condensation in response to microtubule poisons. In a panel of 53 lung carcinomas for which matched normal tissue was available, we identified three missense mutations in the chfr gene, at least one of which was associated with loss of heterozygosity. In tissue culture checkpoint assays, the tumor-associated missense mutants had reduced activity or were inactive. Together with recent data suggesting that the chfr gene is frequently silenced in various tumors because of methylation of its promoter, these findings suggest that chfr is inactivated by multiple mechanisms in human cancer.
Cancer Research 12/2003; 63(21):7185-9. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We recently described a novel checkpoint pathway that functions early in mitosis to delay chromosome condensation in response to microtubule poisons. The only gene implicated so far in this checkpoint pathway is chfr, whose protein product contains a RING domain and has ubiquitin ligase activity in vitro. The significance of this activity in vivo is unclear. A recent report suggested that the Chfr protein targets itself for proteasome-dependent degradation in mitotic cells through autoubiquitination. However, we observe that in mitosis Chfr exhibits a phosphorylation-dependent electrophoretic mobility shift with no change in overall protein levels. Further analysis of its ubiquitin ligase activity revealed that Chfr can catalyse the formation of noncanonical Lys63-linked polyubiquitin chains with Ubc13-Mms2 acting as the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme. Ubc13-Mms2 and Lys63-polyubiquitin chains are not associated with targeting proteins to the proteasome, but rather with signaling cellular stress. We propose that Chfr may have a role in signaling the presence of mitotic stress induced by microtubule poisons.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Chfr mitotic checkpoint protein is frequently inactivated in human cancer. We determined the three-dimensional structure of its FHA domain in its native form and in complex with tungstate, an analog of phosphate. The structures revealed a beta sandwich fold similar to the previously determined folds of the Rad53 N- and C-terminal FHA domains, except that the Rad53 domains were monomeric, whereas the Chfr FHA domain crystallized as a segment-swapped dimer. The ability of the Chfr FHA domain to recognize tungstate suggests that it shares the ability with other FHA domains to bind phosphoproteins. Nevertheless, differences in the sequence and structure of the Chfr and Rad53 FHA domains suggest that FHA domains can be divided into families with distinct binding properties.