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Mol Cell. 2008 Mar 14;29(5):637-43. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2008.01.004.

Phosphorylation relieves autoinhibition of the kinetochore motor Cenp-E.

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Universit├ęs Montpellier 2 et 1, IFR122, CRBM, 34293 Montpellier, France; CNRS, UMR 5237, 1919 Route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier, France.


During mitosis, chromosome alignment depends on the regulated dynamics of microtubules and on motor protein activities. At the kinetochore, the interplay between microtubule-binding proteins, motors, and kinases is poorly understood. Cenp-E is a kinetochore-associated kinesin involved in chromosome congression, but the mechanism by which this is achieved is unclear. Here, we present a study of the regulation of Cenp-E motility by using purified full-length (FL) Xenopus Cenp-E protein, which demonstrates that FL Cenp-E is a genuine plus-end-directed motor. Furthermore, we find that the Cenp-E tail completely blocks the motility of Cenp-E in vitro. This is achieved through direct interaction between its motor and tail domains. Finally, we show that Cenp-E autoinhibition is reversed by MPS1- or CDK1-cyclin B-mediated phosphorylation of the Cenp-E tail. This suggests a model of dynamic control of Cenp-E motility, and hence chromosome congression, dependent upon phosphorylation at the kinetochore.

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