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EMBO J. 2011 Apr 20;30(8):1508-19. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2011.70. Epub 2011 Mar 15.

Evidence that Aurora B is implicated in spindle checkpoint signalling independently of error correction.

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Department of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.


Fidelity of chromosome segregation is ensured by a tension-dependent error correction system that prevents stabilization of incorrect chromosome-microtubule attachments. Unattached or incorrectly attached chromosomes also activate the spindle assembly checkpoint, thus delaying mitotic exit until all chromosomes are bioriented. The Aurora B kinase is widely recognized as a component of error correction. Conversely, its role in the checkpoint is controversial. Here, we report an analysis of the role of Aurora B in the spindle checkpoint under conditions believed to uncouple the effects of Aurora B inhibition on the checkpoint from those on error correction. Partial inhibition of several checkpoint and kinetochore components, including Mps1 and Ndc80, strongly synergizes with inhibition of Aurora B activity and dramatically affects the ability of cells to arrest in mitosis in the presence of spindle poisons. Thus, Aurora B might contribute to spindle checkpoint signalling independently of error correction. Our results support a model in which Aurora B is at the apex of a signalling pyramid whose sensory apparatus promotes the concomitant activation of error correction and checkpoint signalling pathways.

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