ABSTRACT: A growing body of evidence indicates that polyploidization triggers chromosomal instability and contributes to tumorigenesis. DNA damage is increasingly being recognized for its roles in promoting polyploidization. Although elegant mechanisms known as the DNA damage checkpoints are responsible for halting the cell cycle after DNA damage, agents that uncouple the checkpoints can induce unscheduled entry into mitosis. Likewise, defects of the checkpoints in several disorders permit mitotic entry even in the presence of DNA damage. Forcing cells with damaged DNA into mitosis causes severe chromosome segregation defects, including lagging chromosomes, chromosomal fragments and chromosomal bridges. The presence of these lesions in the cleavage plane is believed to abort cytokinesis. It is postulated that if cytokinesis failure is coupled with defects of the p53-dependent postmitotic checkpoint pathway, cells can enter S phase and become polyploids. Progress in the past several years has unraveled some of the underlying principles of these pathways and underscored the important role of DNA damage in polyploidization. Furthermore, polyploidization per se may also be an important determinant of sensitivity to DNA damage, thereby may offer an opportunity for novel therapies.
Advances in experimental medicine and biology 01/2010; 676:57-71. · 1.09 Impact Factor