Centromere targeting of the chromosomal passenger complex requires a ternary subcomplex of Borealin, Survivin, and the N-terminal domain of INCENP

Mol Biol Cell. 2006 Jun;17(6):2547-58. doi: 10.1091/mbc.e05-12-1133. Epub 2006 Mar 29.


The chromosomal passenger complex (CPC), consisting of the serine/threonine kinase Aurora B, the inner centromere protein INCENP, Survivin, and Borealin/DasraB, has essential functions at the centromere in ensuring correct chromosome alignment and segregation. Despite observations that small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of any one member of the CPC abolishes localization of the other subunits, it remains unclear how the complex is targeted to the centromere. We have now identified a ternary subcomplex of the CPC comprising Survivin, Borealin, and the N-terminal 58 amino acids of INCENP in vitro and in vivo. This subcomplex was found to be essential and sufficient for targeting to the centromere. Notably, Aurora B kinase, the enzymatic core of the CPC, was not required for centromere localization of the subcomplex. We demonstrate that CPC targeting to the centromere does not depend on CENP-A and hMis12, two core components for kinetochore/centromere assembly, and provide evidence that the CPC may be directed to centromeric DNA directly via the Borealin subunit. Our findings thus establish a functional module within the CPC that assembles on the N terminus of INCENP and controls centromere recruitment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Centromere / physiology*
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / genetics
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Survivin
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • BIRC5 protein, human
  • CDCA8 protein, human
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • INCENP protein, human
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Survivin