Centrosome loss or amplification does not dramatically perturb global gene expression in Drosophila.
Baumbach J., Levesque MP., Raff JW.
Centrosome defects are a common feature of many cancers, and they can predispose fly brain cells to form tumours. In flies, centrosome defects perturb the asymmetric division of the neural stem cells, but it is unclear how this might lead to malignant transformation. One possibility is that centrosome defects might also perturb cellular homeostasis: for example, stress pathways are often activated in response to centrosome defects in cultured cells, and stress contributes to tumourigenesis in some fly models. Here we attempt to assess whether centrosome loss or centrosome amplification perturbs cell physiology in vivo by profiling the global transcriptome of Drosophila larval brains and imaginal discs that either lack centrosomes or have too many centrosomes. Surprisingly, we find that centrosome loss or amplification leads to few changes in the transcriptional profile of these cells, indicating that centrosome defects are surprisingly well tolerated by these cells. These observations indicate that centrosome defects can predispose fly brain cells to form tumours without, at least initially, dramatically altering their physiology.