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RASSF1A is a tumor suppressor gene that is inactivated by hypermethylation of its promoter region in most types of human cancers. The incidence of spontaneous or induced tumors is significantly higher in Rassf1a(-/-) mice than in wild-type mice, confirming the tumor suppressor function of RASSF1A. RASSF1A promotes apoptosis mainly through its interaction with the proapoptotic serine/threonine STE20-like kinases MST1 and 2. However, Rassf1a(-/-) mice do not show overt signs of deregulated apoptosis, suggesting that other RASSF1A effectors are also critical for tumor suppression. In a proteomics screen, we identified RAN GTPase, MST1 and 2 kinases, and alpha- and gamma-tubulin as RASSF1A-interacting proteins. We show that RASSF1A-induced microtubule hyperstability, a hallmark of RASSF1A expression, is RAN-GTP dependent. RASSF1A promotes the accumulation of the GTP-bound form of RAN via the MST2-induced phosphorylation of RCC1. Depletion of RASSF1A results in mislocalization of RCC1 to the mitotic spindle and spindle poles, leading to mitotic spindle abnormalities and prometaphase block. A similar mitotic delay is also observed with MST2 depletion. These findings reveal a mechanism for how RASSF1A controls microtubule stability and for how its loss compromises the integrity of the mitotic spindle, leading to aneuploidy and tumorigenesis.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Biol

Publication Date





1227 - 1232


Animals, Cell Cycle Proteins, Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors, HeLa Cells, Humans, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Microtubules, Nuclear Proteins, Phosphorylation, Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases, Proteomics, Spindle Apparatus, Tubulin, Tumor Suppressor Proteins, ran GTP-Binding Protein