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Elevated endogenous expression of the dominant negative basic helix-loop-helix protein ID1 correlates with significant centrosome abnormalities in human tumor cells

Carolin Manthey12, Demissew S Mern13, Anja Gutmann14, Anne J Zielinski1, Corinna Herz5, Silke Lassmann5 and Jens Hasskarl1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Hematology and Oncology, University Medical Center Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

2 Department of Medicine, University Medical Center of Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

3 Helmholtz-University Group Molecular Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany

4 Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

5 Institute of Pathology, University Medical Center Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

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BMC Cell Biology 2010, 11:2  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-11-2

Published: 14 January 2010



ID proteins are dominant negative inhibitors of basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors that have multiple functions during development and cellular differentiation. Ectopic (over-)expression of ID1 extends the lifespan of primary human epithelial cells. High expression levels of ID1 have been detected in multiple human malignancies, and in some have been correlated with unfavorable clinical prognosis. ID1 protein is localized at the centrosomes and forced (over-)expression of ID1 results in errors during centrosome duplication.


Here we analyzed the steady state expression levels of the four ID-proteins in 18 tumor cell lines and assessed the number of centrosome abnormalities. While expression of ID1, ID2, and ID3 was detected, we failed to detect protein expression of ID4. Expression of ID1 correlated with increased supernumerary centrosomes in most cell lines analyzed.


This is the first report that shows that not only ectopic expression in tissue culture but endogenous levels of ID1 modulate centrosome numbers. Thus, our findings support the hypothesis that ID1 interferes with centrosome homeostasis, most likely contributing to genomic instability and associated tumor aggressiveness.