Reducing the aneuploid cell burden – cell competition and the ribosome connection

Nicholas E. Baker, Cristina Montagna

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Aneuploidy, the gain or loss of chromosomes, is the cause of birth defects and miscarriage and is almost ubiquitous in cancer cells. Mosaic aneuploidy causes cancer predisposition, as well as age-related disorders. Despite the cell-intrinsic mechanisms that prevent aneuploidy, sporadic aneuploid cells do arise in otherwise normal tissues. These aneuploid cells can differ from normal cells in the copy number of specific dose-sensitive genes, and may also experience proteotoxic stress associated with mismatched expression levels of many proteins. These differences may mark aneuploid cells for recognition and elimination. The ribosomal protein gene dose in aneuploid cells could be important because, in Drosophila, haploinsufficiency for these genes leads to elimination by the process of cell competition. Constitutive haploinsufficiency for human ribosomal protein genes causes Diamond Blackfan anemia, but it is not yet known whether ribosomal protein gene dose contributes to aneuploid cell elimination in mammals. In this Review, we discuss whether cell competition on the basis of ribosomal protein gene dose is a tumor suppressor mechanism, reducing the accumulation of aneuploid cells. We also discuss how this might relate to the tumor suppressor function of p53 and the p53-mediated elimination of aneuploid cells from murine embryos, and how cell competition defects could contribute to the cancer predisposition of Diamond Blackfan anemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdmm049673
JournalDMM Disease Models and Mechanisms
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Immunology and Microbiology (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


  • Aging
  • Aneuploidy
  • Cancer
  • Cell competition
  • Ribosomal protein gene


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