The Polo kinase Plk4 functions in centriole duplication.
The human Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) and its functional homologues that are present in other eukaryotes have multiple, crucial roles in meiotic and mitotic cell division. By contrast, the functions of other mammalian Polo family members remain largely unknown. Plk4 is the most structurally divergent Polo family member; it is maximally expressed in actively dividing tissues and is essential for mouse embryonic development. Here, we identify Plk4 as a key regulator of centriole duplication. Both gain- and loss-of-function experiments demonstrate that Plk4 is required--in cooperation with Cdk2, CP110 and Hs-SAS6--for the precise reproduction of centrosomes during the cell cycle. These findings provide an attractive explanation for the crucial function of Plk4 in cell proliferation and have implications for the role of Polo kinases in tumorigenesis.