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Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2007 Aug;14(8):721-6. Epub 2007 Jul 22.

Architecture of the Dam1 kinetochore ring complex and implications for microtubule-driven assembly and force-coupling mechanisms.

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Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1 Cyclotron Rd., Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


The Dam1 kinetochore complex is essential for chromosome segregation in budding yeast. This ten-protein complex self-assembles around microtubules, forming ring-like structures that move with depolymerizing microtubule ends, a mechanism with implications for cellular function. Here we used EM-based single-particle and helical analyses to define the architecture of the Dam1 complex at 30-A resolution and the self-assembly mechanism. Ring oligomerization seems to be facilitated by a conformational change upon binding to microtubules, suggesting that the Dam1 ring is not preformed, but self-assembles around kinetochore microtubules. The C terminus of the Dam1p protein, where most of the Aurora kinase Ipl1 phosphorylation sites reside, is in a strategic location to affect oligomerization and interactions with the microtubule. One of Ipl1's roles might be to fine-tune the coupling of the microtubule interaction with the conformational change required for oligomerization, with phosphorylation resulting in ring breakdown.

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