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The structure of purified kinetochores reveals multiple microtubule-attachment sites.

Chromosomes must be accurately partitioned to daughter cells to prevent aneuploidy, a hallmark of many tumors and birth defects. Kinetochores are the macromolecular machines that segregate chromosomes by maintaining load-bearing attachments to the dynamic tips of microtubules. Here, we present the structure of isolated budding-yeast kinetochore particles, as visualized by EM and electron tomography of negatively stained preparations. The kinetochore appears as an ~126-nm particle containing a large central hub surrounded by multiple outer globular domains. In the presence of microtubules, some particles also have a ring that encircles the microtubule. Our data, showing that kinetochores bind to microtubules via multivalent attachments, lay the foundation to uncover the key mechanical and regulatory mechanisms by which kinetochores control chromosome segregation and cell division.

Pubmed ID: 22885327


  • Gonen S
  • Akiyoshi B
  • Iadanza MG
  • Shi D
  • Duggan N
  • Biggins S
  • Gonen T


Nature structural & molecular biology

Publication Data

September 14, 2012

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NCI NIH HHS, Id: CA015704
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: GM064386
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: GM078079
  • Agency: NCI NIH HHS, Id: P30 CA015704
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: R01 GM064386
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: R01 GM078069
  • Agency: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Id:

Mesh Terms

  • Fungal Proteins
  • Kinetochores
  • Microtubules
  • Models, Molecular
  • Saccharomycetales