Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Spindle Assembly Checkpoint

  • Stephan C. Jahn
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_5445-9




The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) controls the progression through mitosis, ensuring that anaphase does not occur until all chromosomes are properly attached to microtubules originating from two spindle poles.



In 1902, Theodor Boveri proposed that cancers could derive from “a certain abnormal chromosome constitution that in some circumstances can be generated by multipolar mitoses.” Since little was known about the cell cycle and the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) had not been discovered, he did not know he was implying that cancer cells have a weakened SAC. While studying the effects of radiation on mitosis in 1970, Zirkle was one of the first to notice that even a small aberration in the alignment of chromosomes at the metaphase plate induced a delay in anaphase. With the discovery of microtubule agents including paclitaxel(1967) and nocodazole (1976), researchers were equipped with the tools needed to induce this delay and...


Chromosomal Instability Spindle Pole Spindle Assembly Checkpoint Attachment Model Nuclear Envelope Breakdown 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Barbosa J, Nascimento AV, Faria J, Silva P, Bousbaa H (2011) The spindle assembly checkpoint: perspectives in tumorigenesis and cancer therapy. Front Biol 6(2):147–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Nezi L, Musacchio A (2009) Sister chromatid tension and spindle assembly checkpoint. Curr Opin Cell Biol 6:785–795CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Zirkle RE (1970) Ultraviolet-microbeam irradiation of newt-cell cytoplasm: spindle destruction, false anaphase, and delay of true anaphase. Radiat Res 41(3):516–537CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics and the UF & Shands Cancer CenterUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA