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J Cell Biol. 2017 Nov 6;216(11):3551-3570. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201703152. Epub 2017 Sep 22.

Structural plasticity of the living kinetochore.

Author information

Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, MO.
The Open University, Milton Keynes, England, UK.
Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, MO
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS.


The kinetochore is a large, evolutionarily conserved protein structure that connects chromosomes with microtubules. During chromosome segregation, outer kinetochore components track depolymerizing ends of microtubules to facilitate the separation of chromosomes into two cells. In budding yeast, each chromosome has a point centromere upon which a single kinetochore is built, which attaches to a single microtubule. This defined architecture facilitates quantitative examination of kinetochores during the cell cycle. Using three independent measures-calibrated imaging, FRAP, and photoconversion-we find that the Dam1 submodule is unchanged during anaphase, whereas MIND and Ndc80 submodules add copies to form an "anaphase configuration" kinetochore. Microtubule depolymerization and kinesin-related motors contribute to copy addition. Mathematical simulations indicate that the addition of microtubule attachments could facilitate tracking during rapid microtubule depolymerization. We speculate that the minimal kinetochore configuration, which exists from G1 through metaphase, allows for correction of misattachments. Our study provides insight into dynamics and plasticity of the kinetochore structure during chromosome segregation in living cells.

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