A specific interaction between the telomeric protein Pin2/TRF1 and the mitotic spindle

Masafumi Nakamura, Xiao Zhen Zhou, Shuji Kishi, Isao Kosugi, Yoshihiro Tsutsui, Kun Ping Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Pin2/TRF1 was independently identified as a telomeric DNA binding protein (TRF1) [1] and as a protein (Pin2) that can bind the mitotic kinase NIMA and suppress its ability to induce mitotic catastrophe [2, 3]. Pin2/TRF1 has been shown to bind telomeric DNA as a dimer [3-7] and to negatively regulate telomere length [8-11]. Interestingly, Pin2/TRF1 levels are regulated during the cell cycle, being increased in late G2 and mitosis and degraded as cells exit from mitosis [3]. Furthermore, overexpression of Pin2/TRF1 induces mitotic entry and then apoptosis [12]. This Pin2/TRF1 activity can be significantly potentiated by the microtubule-disrupting agent nocodazole [12] but is suppressed by phosphorylation of Pin2/TRF1 by ATM; this negative regulation is important for preventing apoptosis upon DNA damage [13]. These results suggest a role for Pin2/TRF1 in mitosis. However, nothing is known about how Pin2/TRF1 is involved in mitotic progression. Here, we describe a surprising physical interaction between Pin2/TRF1 and microtubules in a cell cycle-specific manner. Both expressed and endogenous Pin2/TRF1 proteins were localized to the mitotic spindle during mitosis. Furthermore, Pin2/TRF1 directly bound microtubules via its C-terminal domain. Moreover, Pin2/TRF1 also promoted microtubule polymerization in vitro. These results demonstrate for the first time a specific interaction between Pin2/ TRF1 and microtubules in a mitosis-specific manner, and they suggest a new role for Pin2/TRF1 in modulating the function of microtubules during mitosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1512-1516
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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