BackgroundIntegrin-mediated adhesion is normally required for cytokinetic abscission, and failure in the process can generate potentially oncogenic tetraploid cells. Here, detachment-induced formation of oncogenic tetraploid cells was analyzed in non-transformed human BJ fibroblasts and BJ expressing SV40LT (BJ-LT) ± overactive HRas.ResultsIn contrast to BJ and BJ-LT cells, non-adherent BJ-LT-Ras cells recruited ALIX and CHMP4B to the midbody and divided. In detached BJ and BJ-LT cells regression of the cytokinetic furrow was suppressed by intercellular bridge-associated septin; after re-adhesion these cells divided by cytofission, however, some cells became bi-nucleated because of septin reorganization and furrow regression. Adherent bi-nucleated BJ cells became senescent in G1 with p21 accumulation in the nucleus, apparently due to p53 activation since adherent bi-nucleated BJ-LT cells passed through next cell cycle and divided into mono-nucleated tetraploids; the two centrosomes present in bi-nucleated BJ cells fused after furrow regression, pointing to the PIDDosome pathway as a possible mechanism for the p53 activation.ConclusionsSeveral mechanisms prevent detached normal cells from generating tumor-causing tetraploid cells unless they have a suppressed p53 response by viruses, mutation or inflammation. Importantly, activating Ras mutations promote colony growth of detached transformed cells by inducing anchorage-independent cytokinetic abscission in single cells.