Journal of Cell Science
Incorporation of 53BP1 into phase-separated bodies in cancer cells during aberrant mitosis
Marina Bleiler, Aiyana Cyr, Dennis L. Wright, Charles Giardina
53BP1, RIF1, Lamin A/C, Mitotic stress, Mitotic arrest, Colon cancer cell lines, ARPE-19
53BP1 (also known as TP53BP1) is a key mediator of the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) DNA repair pathway, which is the primary repair pathway in interphase cells. However, the mitotic functions of 53BP1 are less well understood. Here, we describe 53BP1 mitotic stress bodies (MSBs) formed in cancer cell lines in response to delayed mitosis. These bodies displayed liquid–liquid phase separation characteristics, were close to centromeres, and included lamin A/C and the DNA repair protein RIF1. After release from mitotic arrest, 53BP1 MSBs decreased in number and moved away from the chromatin. Using GFP fusion constructs, we found that the 53BP1 oligomerization domain region was required for MSB formation, and that inclusion of the 53BP1 N terminus increased MSB size. Exogenous expression of 53BP1 did not increase MSB size or number but did increase levels of MSB-free 53BP1. This was associated with slower mitotic progression, elevated levels of DNA damage and increased apoptosis, which is consistent with MSBs suppressing a mitotic surveillance by 53BP1 through sequestration. The 53BP1 MSBs, which were also found spontaneously in a subset of normally dividing cancer cells but not in non-transformed cells (ARPE-19), might facilitate the survival of cancer cells following aberrant mitoses.