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Liu, Yahui; Petrovic, Arsen; Rombaut, Pascaline; Mosalaganti, Shyamal; Keller, Jenny; Raunser, Stefan; Herzog, Franz ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8270-1449 and Musacchio, Andrea (2016): Insights from the reconstitution of the divergent outer kinetochore of Drosophila melanogaster. In: Open biology, Vol. 6, No. 2, 150236 [PDF, 3MB]


Accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis and meiosis is crucial for cellular and organismal viability. Kinetochores connect chromosomes with spindle microtubules and are essential for chromosome segregation. These large protein scaffolds emerge from the centromere, a specialized region of the chromosome enriched with the histone H3 variant CENP-A. In most eukaryotes, the kinetochore core consists of the centromere-proximal constitutive centromere-associated network (CCAN), which binds CENP-A and contains 16 subunits, and of the centromere-distal Knl1 complex, Mis12 complex, Ndc80 complex (KMN) network, which binds microtubules and contains 10 subunits. In the fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster, the kinetochore underwent remarkable simplifications. All CCAN subunits, with the exception of centromeric protein C (CENP-C), and two KMN subunits, Dsn1 and Zwint, cannot be identified in this organism. In addition, two paralogues of the KMN subunit Nnf1 (Nnf1a and Nnf1b) are present. Finally, the Spc105R subunit, homologous to human Knl1/CASC5, underwent considerable sequence changes in comparison with other organisms. We combined biochemical reconstitution with biophysical and structural methods to investigate how these changes reflect on the organization of the Drosophila KMN network. We demonstrate that the Nnf1a and Nnf1b paralogues are subunits of distinct complexes, both of which interact directly with Spc105R and with CENP-C, for the latter of which we identify a binding site on the Mis12 subunit. Our studies shed light on the structural and functional organization of a highly divergent kinetochore particle.

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