Faithful chromosome segregation during mitosis depends on the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), which delays progression through mitosis until every chromosome has stably attached to spindle microtubules via the kinetochore. We show here that the deubiquitinase USP9X strengthens the SAC by antagonising the turnover of the mitotic checkpoint complex produced at unattached kinetochores. USP9X thereby opposes activation of anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) and specifically inhibits the mitotic degradation of SAC-controlled APC/C substrates. We demonstrate that depletion or loss of USP9X reduces the effectiveness of the SAC, elevates chromosome segregation defects and enhances chromosomal instability (CIN). These findings provide a rationale to explain why loss of USP9X could be either pro- or anti-tumourigenic depending on the existing level of CIN.
- chromosomal instability
- spindle assembly checkpoint