, Volume 127, Issue 2, pp 175–186 | Cite as

Ki-67: more than a proliferation marker

  • Xiaoming Sun
  • Paul D. Kaufman


Ki-67 protein has been widely used as a proliferation marker for human tumor cells for decades. In recent studies, multiple molecular functions of this large protein have become better understood. Ki-67 has roles in both interphase and mitotic cells, and its cellular distribution dramatically changes during cell cycle progression. These localizations correlate with distinct functions. For example, during interphase, Ki-67 is required for normal cellular distribution of heterochromatin antigens and for the nucleolar association of heterochromatin. During mitosis, Ki-67 is essential for formation of the perichromosomal layer (PCL), a ribonucleoprotein sheath coating the condensed chromosomes. In this structure, Ki-67 acts to prevent aggregation of mitotic chromosomes. Here, we present an overview of functional roles of Ki-67 across the cell cycle and also describe recent experiments that clarify its role in regulating cell cycle progression in human cells.


Ki-67 Cell cycle Perichromosomal layer Heterochromatin 



We thank Timothy Matheson for the use of Fig. 2.


This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (grant number 1U01 DA040588).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer BiologyUniversity Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA

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