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During cell division, kinetochores couple chromosomes to spindle microtubules. To protect against chromosome gain or loss, kinetochores lacking microtubule attachment locally catalyze association of the checkpoint proteins Cdc20 and Mad2, which is the key event in the formation of a diffusible checkpoint complex that prevents mitotic exit. We elucidated the mechanism of kinetochore-catalyzed Mad2-Cdc20 assembly with a probe that specifically monitors this assembly reaction at kinetochores in living cells. We found that catalysis occurs through a tripartite mechanism that includes localized delivery of Mad2 and Cdc20 substrates and two phosphorylation-dependent interactions that geometrically constrain their positions and prime Cdc20 for interaction with Mad2. These results reveal how unattached kinetochores create a signal that ensures genome integrity during cell division. Copyright © 2021, American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Pablo Lara-Gonzalez, Taekyung Kim, Karen Oegema, Kevin Corbett, Arshad Desai. A tripartite mechanism catalyzes Mad2-Cdc20 assembly at unattached kinetochores. Science (New York, N.Y.). 2021 Jan 01;371(6524):64-67

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PMID: 33384372

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