Cell Biology

Correcting Mistakes

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Science  27 Feb 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5662, pp. 1259
DOI: 10.1126/science.303.5662.1259b

During cell division, chromosomes must be partitioned accurately between daughter cells. Each condensed chromosome contains at its center two sister kinetochores that must be attached to opposite poles of the mitotic spindle by microtubules. In this way, as the cell progresses through mitosis, the two chromatids will move to opposite poles, ensuring faithful partitioning. But what happens if chromosomes are attached aberrantly to the spindle? Lampson et al. used reversible small molecule inhibitors to examine the role of an important mitotic kinase—the Aurora kinase—in this process. Inactivation of Aurora kinase can cause chromosomes to fail to align correctly at the metaphase plate. Controlled activation of the Aurora kinase during mitosis corrected chromosome attachment errors by selectively dismantling kinetochore-attached microtubules. Inappropriately attached chromosomes moved to the spindle pole as the kinetochore-attached microtubules shortened. The chromosomes then realigned appropriately at the metaphase plate. This ability to correct mistakes in chromosome alignment is likely to be an important contributor to the maintenance of genome integrity. — SMH

Nature Cell Biol. 10.1038/ncb1102 (2004

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