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J Cell Sci. 2004 Nov 1;117(Pt 23):5461-77.

The dynamic kinetochore-microtubule interface.

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Laboratory of Cell Regulation, NYSDH-Division of Molecular Medicine, Wadsworth Center, Empire State Plaza, PO Box 509, Albany, NY 12201-0509, USA.


The kinetochore is a control module that both powers and regulates chromosome segregation in mitosis and meiosis. The kinetochore-microtubule interface is remarkably fluid, with the microtubules growing and shrinking at their point of attachment to the kinetochore. Furthermore, the kinetochore itself is highly dynamic, its makeup changing as cells enter mitosis and as it encounters microtubules. Active kinetochores have yet to be isolated or reconstituted, and so the structure remains enigmatic. Nonetheless, recent advances in genetic, bioinformatic and imaging technology mean we are now beginning to understand how kinetochores assemble, bind to microtubules and release them when the connections made are inappropriate, and also how they influence microtubule behaviour. Recent work has begun to elucidate a pathway of kinetochore assembly in animal cells; the work has revealed that many kinetochore components are highly dynamic and that some cycle between kinetochores and spindle poles along microtubules. Further studies of the kinetochore-microtubule interface are illuminating: (1) the role of the Ndc80 complex and components of the Ran-GTPase system in microtubule attachment, force generation and microtubule-dependent inactivation of kinetochore spindle checkpoint activity; (2) the role of chromosomal passenger proteins in the correction of kinetochore attachment errors; and (3) the function of microtubule plus-end tracking proteins, motor depolymerases and other proteins in kinetochore movement on microtubules and movement coupled to microtubule poleward flux.

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