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Cell. 2007 Jan 12;128(1):101-14.

PICH, a centromere-associated SNF2 family ATPase, is regulated by Plk1 and required for the spindle checkpoint.

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Department of Cell Biology, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, D-82152 Martinsried, Germany.


We identify PICH (Plk1-interacting checkpoint "helicase"), a member of the SNF2 ATPase family, as an interaction partner and substrate of Plk1. Following phosphorylation of PICH on the Cdk1 site T1063, Plk1 is recruited to PICH and controls its localization. Starting in prometaphase, PICH accumulates at kinetochores and inner centromeres. Moreover, it decorates threads that form during metaphase before increasing in length and progressively diminishing during anaphase. PICH-positive threads connect sister kinetochores and are dependent on tension, sensitive to DNase, and exacerbated in response to premature loss of cohesins or inhibition of topoisomerase II, suggesting that they represent stretched centromeric chromatin. Depletion of PICH causes the selective loss of Mad2 from kinetochores and completely abrogates the spindle checkpoint, resulting in massive chromosome missegregation. These data identify PICH as a novel essential component of checkpoint signaling. We propose that PICH binds to catenated centromere-related DNA to monitor tension developing between sister kinetochores.

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