Stable kinetochore-microtubule attachment constrains centromere positioning in metaphase

Chad G. Pearson, Elaine Yeh, Melissa Gardner, David Odde, E. D. Salmon, Kerry Bloom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


With a single microtubule attachment, budding-yeast kinetochores provide an excellent system for understanding the coordinated linkage to dynamic microtubule plus ends for chromosome oscillation and positioning. Fluorescent tagging of kinetochore proteins indicates that, on average, all centromeres are clustered, distinctly separated from their sisters, and positioned equidistant from their respective spindle poles during metaphase. However, individual fluorescent chromosome markers near the centromere transiently reassociate with their sisters and oscillate from one spindle half to the other. To reconcile the apparent disparity between the average centromere position and individual centromere proximal markers, we utilized fluorescence recovery after photobleaching to measure stability of the histone-H3 variant Cse4p/CENP-A. Newly synthesized Cse4p replaces old protein during DNA replication. Once assembled, Cse4-GFP is a physically stable component of centromeres during mitosis. This allowed us to follow centromere dynamics within each spindle half. Kinetochores remain stably attached to dynamic microtubules and exhibit a low incidence of switching orientation or position between the spindle halves. Switching of sister chromatid attachment may be contemporaneous with Cse4p exchange and early kinetochore assembly during S phase; this would promote mixing of chromosome attachment to each spindle pole. Once biorientation is attained, centromeres rarely make excursions beyond their proximal half spindle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1962-1967
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 9 2004


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