Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Tubulin Code in Mitosis and Cancer

Version 1 : Received: 20 October 2020 / Approved: 21 October 2020 / Online: 21 October 2020 (11:32:32 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Lopes, D.; Maiato, H. The Tubulin Code in Mitosis and Cancer. Cells 2020, 9, 2356. Lopes, D.; Maiato, H. The Tubulin Code in Mitosis and Cancer. Cells 2020, 9, 2356.


The “tubulin code” combines different α/β-tubulin isotypes with several post-translational modifications (PTMs) to generate microtubule diversity in cells. During cell division, specific microtubule populations in the mitotic spindle are differentially modified, but only recently has the functional significance of these modifications started to be elucidated. In particular, α-tubulin detyrosination of stable microtubules in the spindle was shown to guide chromosomes during congression to the metaphase plate and allow the discrimination of mitotic errors, whose correction is required to prevent chromosomal instability (CIN), a hallmark of human cancers. Although alterations in certain tubulin PTMs have been reported in human cancers, it remains unclear whether and how tubulin PTMs have any functional implications for cancer cell properties. Here we review the role of the tubulin code in chromosome segregation during mitosis, together with the emerging cancer tubulin code and discuss possible links, as well as the respective diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic implications for human cancers.


cancer; chromosomal instability; microtubule; mitosis; tubulin code; tubulin post-translational modifications.


Biology and Life Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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