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J Cell Biol. 2012 Oct 15;199(2):251-68. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201205106.

Haspin inhibitors reveal centromeric functions of Aurora B in chromosome segregation.

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  • 1Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Haspin phosphorylates histone H3 at threonine-3 (H3T3ph), providing a docking site for the Aurora B complex at centromeres. Aurora B functions to correct improper kinetochore-microtubule attachments and alert the spindle checkpoint to the presence of misaligned chromosomes. We show that Haspin inhibitors decreased H3T3ph, resulting in loss of centromeric Aurora B and reduced phosphorylation of centromere and kinetochore Aurora B substrates. Consequently, metaphase chromosome alignment and spindle checkpoint signaling were compromised. These effects were phenocopied by microinjection of anti-H3T3ph antibodies. Retargeting Aurora B to centromeres partially restored checkpoint signaling and Aurora B-dependent phosphorylation at centromeres and kinetochores, bypassing the need for Haspin activity. Haspin inhibitors did not obviously affect phosphorylation of histone H3 at serine-10 (H3S10ph) by Aurora B on chromosome arms but, in Aurora B reactivation assays, recovery of H3S10ph was delayed. Haspin inhibitors did not block Aurora B localization to the spindle midzone in anaphase or Aurora B function in cytokinesis. Thus, Haspin inhibitors reveal centromeric roles of Aurora B in chromosome movement and spindle checkpoint signaling.

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