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EMBO J. 2011 Mar 2;30(5):906-19. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2011.15. Epub 2011 Feb 4.

A TACC3/ch-TOG/clathrin complex stabilises kinetochore fibres by inter-microtubule bridging.

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Physiological Laboratory, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.


Kinetochore fibres (K-fibres) of the spindle apparatus move chromosomes during mitosis. These fibres are discrete bundles of parallel microtubules (MTs) that are crosslinked by inter-MT 'bridges' that are thought to improve fibre stability during chromosomal movement. The identity of these bridges is unknown. Clathrin is a multimeric protein that has been shown to stabilise K-fibres during early mitosis by a mechanism independent of its role in membrane trafficking. In this study, we show that clathrin at the mitotic spindle is in a transforming acidic colied-coil protein 3 (TACC3)/colonic, hepatic tumour overexpressed gene (ch-TOG)/clathrin complex. The complex is anchored to the spindle by TACC3 and ch-TOG. Ultrastructural analysis of clathrin-depleted K-fibres revealed a selective loss of a population of short inter-MT bridges and a general loss of MTs. A similar loss of short inter-MT bridges was observed in TACC3-depleted K-fibres. Finally, immunogold labelling confirmed that inter-MT bridges in K-fibres contain clathrin. Our results suggest that the TACC3/ch-TOG/clathrin complex is an inter-MT bridge that stabilises K-fibres by physical crosslinking and by reducing rates of MT catastrophe.

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