NuMA: The Key to Asymmetric Cell Division

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 14:34

Nuclear Mitotic Apparatus protein (NuMA) is a cell cycle-related protein that acts as an organizer of the mitotic spindle during mitosis. It may be involved in coordinating the alignment of the mitotic spindle to the cellular polarity axis, which is a prerequisite for asymmetric cell division. NuMA is also a prominent component of interphase cell nuclear matrix; however its role during interphase is largely unknown. It occupies the majority of the nuclear volume and is required for maintenance as well as establishment of the mitotic spindle poles, functioning as a tether linking bulk microtubules of the spindle to centrosomes.

Among its related super-pathways are apoptosis, the survival Caspase cascade and G2/M Transition. It is degraded in early apoptosis. Diseases associated with NUMA1 include acute promyelocytic leukemia, breast cancer susceptibility, measles, transitional cell carcinoma, Kaposi's sarcoma, muscular dystrophy, colorectal cancer, myeloid leukemia, esophagitis, arthritis, ovarian cancer, thyroiditis, prostate cancer, prostatitis, and neuronitis.

A study utilizing the Novus NuMA antibody (NB500-174) suggested that NuMA is required for efficient herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection. This study illustrated that NuMA is extensively modified following HSV infection, including phosphorylation of an unidentified site(s). Although NuMA is insoluble in uninfected interphase cells, HSV infection induced solubilisation and dynamic relocalisation of NuMA, whereupon the protein became excluded from the viral replication compartments -- sites of virus transcription and replication. (1)

Immunocytochemistry/Immunofluorescence: NuMA Antibody [NB500-174] Immunocytochemistry / Immunofluorescence: NuMA Antibody [NB500-174]

Using the same NuMA antibody, another study showed that human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16 E7) associates with NuMA and that NuMA binding and the ability to induce dynein delocalization map to similar carboxyl-terminal sequences of E7. (2)

Asymmetric cell division (ACD) is believed to be a physiological event that occurs during development and tissue homeostasis in a large variety of organisms. ACD produces two unequal daughter cells, one of which resembles a multipotent stem and/or progenitor cell, whereas the other has potential for differentiation. Although recent studies have shown that the balance between self-renewal and differentiation potentials is precisely controlled and that alterations in the balance may lead to tumorigenesis in Drosophila neuroblasts, it is largely unknown whether human cancer cells directly show ACD in an evolutionarily conserved manner.  Research has shown that the conserved polarity/spindle protein NuMA is preferentially localized to one side of the cell cortex during cell division, generating unequal inheritance of fate-altering molecules in human neuroblastoma cell lines. These findings may facilitate studies on cancer stem cells. (3)

(1)    PMID: 18505791

(2)    PMID: 19052088

(3)    PMID: 23064640

Novus Biologicals offers NuMA reagents for your research needs including:


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