The Journal of cell biology

Usp16 regulates kinetochore localization of Plk1 to promote proper chromosome alignment in mitosis.

PMID 26323689


During the G2 to M phase transition, a portion of mitotic regulator Plk1 localizes to the kinetochores and regulates the initiation of kinetochore-microtubule attachments for proper chromosome alignment. Once kinetochore-microtubule attachment is achieved, this portion of Plk1 is removed from the kinetochores as a result of ubiquitination. However, the crucial molecular mechanism that promotes the localization and the maintenance of Plk1 on the kinetochores until metaphase is still unclear. We report that ubiquitin-specific peptidase 16 (Usp16) plays a key role during this process. Usp16 deubiquitinates Plk1, resulting in an enhanced interaction with kinetochore-localized proteins such as BubR1, and thereby retains Plk1 on the kinetochores to promote proper chromosome alignment in early mitosis. Down-regulation of Usp16 causes increased ubiquitination and decreased kinetochore localization of Plk1. Thus, our data unveil a unique mechanism by which Usp16 promotes the localization and maintenance of Plk1 on the kinetochores for proper chromosome alignment.