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Trends Cell Biol. 2011 Mar;21(3):133-40. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2010.10.007. Epub 2010 Nov 22.

Sensing centromere tension: Aurora B and the regulation of kinetochore function.

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Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Maintaining genome integrity during cell division requires regulated interactions between chromosomes and spindle microtubules. To ensure that daughter cells inherit the correct chromosomes, the sister kinetochores must attach to opposite spindle poles. Tension across the centromere stabilizes correct attachments, whereas phosphorylation of kinetochore substrates by the conserved Ipl1/Aurora B kinase selectively eliminates incorrect attachments. Here, we review our current understanding of how mechanical forces acting on the kinetochore are linked to biochemical changes to control chromosome segregation. We discuss models for tension sensing and regulation of kinetochore function downstream of Aurora B, and mechanisms that specify Aurora B localization to the inner centromere and determine its interactions with substrates at distinct locations.

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