Biology

Drosophila kinesin-8 stabilizes the kinetochore-microtubule interaction




Kinesin-8 is required for proper chromosome alignment in a variety of animal and yeast cell types. However, it is unclear how this motor protein family controls chromosome alignment, as multiple biochemical activities, including inconsistent ones between studies, have been identified. Here, we find that Drosophila kinesin-8 (Klp67A) possesses both microtubule (MT) plus end–stabilizing and –destabilizing activity, in addition to kinesin-8's commonly observed MT plus end–directed motility and tubulin-binding activity in vitro. We further show that Klp67A is required for stable kinetochore–MT attachment during prometaphase in S2 cells. In the absence of Klp67A, abnormally long MTs interact in an "end-on" fashion with kinetochores at normal frequency. However, the interaction is unstable, and MTs frequently become detached. This phenotype is rescued by ectopic expression of the MT plus end–stabilizing factor CLASP, but not by artificial shortening of MTs. We show that human kinesin-8 (KIF18A) is also important to ensure proper MT attachment. Overall, these results suggest that the MT-stabilizing activity of kinesin-8 is critical for stable kinetochore–MT attachment.

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