Aurora-B kinase pathway controls the lateral to end-on conversion of kinetochore-microtubule attachments in human cells

Authors: Roshan L. Shrestha, Duccio Conti, Naoka Tamura, Dominique Braun, Revathy A. Ramalingam, Konstanty Cieslinski, Jonas Ries & Viji M. Dravian


Human chromosomes are captured along microtubule walls (lateral attachment) and then tethered to microtubule-ends (end-on attachment) through a multi-step end-on conversion process. Upstream regulators that orchestrate this remarkable change in the plane of kinetochore-microtubule attachment in human cells are not known. By tracking kinetochore movements and using kinetochore markers specific to attachment status, we reveal a spatially defined role for Aurora-B kinase in retarding the end-on conversion process. To understand how Aurora-B activity is counteracted, we compare the roles of two outer-kinetochore bound phosphatases and find that BubR1-associated PP2A, unlike KNL1-associated PP1, plays a significant role in end-on conversion. Finally, we uncover a novel role for Aurora-B regulated Astrin-SKAP complex in ensuring the correct plane of kinetochore-microtubule attachment. Thus, we identify Aurora-B as a key upstream regulator of end-on conversion in human cells and establish a late role for Astrin-SKAP complex in the end-on conversion process.

Source: Nature Communications; 2017