The Journal of cell biology

An engineered minimal chromosomal passenger complex reveals a role for INCENP/Sli15 spindle association in chromosome biorientation.

PMID 28314741


The four-subunit chromosomal passenger complex (CPC), whose enzymatic subunit is Aurora B kinase, promotes chromosome biorientation by detaching incorrect kinetochore-microtubule attachments. In this study, we use a combination of truncations and artificial dimerization in budding yeast to define the minimal CPC elements essential for its biorientation function. We engineered a minimal CPC comprised of the dimerized last third of the kinase-activating Sli15/INCENP scaffold and the catalytic subunit Ipl1/Aurora B. Although native Sli15 is not oligomeric, artificial dimerization suppressed the biorientation defect and lethality associated with deletion of a majority of its microtubule-binding domain. Dimerization did not act through a physical clustering-based kinase activation mechanism but instead promoted spindle association, likely via a putative helical domain in Sli15 that is essential even when dimerized and is required to target kinetochore substrates. Based on the engineering and characterization of a minimal CPC, we suggest that spindle association is important for active Ipl1/Aurora B complexes to preferentially destabilize misattached kinetochores.