The spindle checkpoint delays anaphase onset until all chromosomes have achieved bipolar attachment to the spindle microtubules. Unattached kinetochores activate the spindle checkpoint by recruiting several spindle-checkpoint proteins, including Mps1, Mad1, Mad2, Bub1, Bub3, and BubR1 (Mad3 in yeast). In vertebrate cells, active MAP kinase (MAPK) is also enriched at unattached kinetochores and is required for the spindle checkpoint. It has been shown that the kinase activity of Mps1 is required for the spindle checkpoint and for kinetochore localization of Bub1, Bub3, Mad1, and Mad2 . We herein demonstrate that MAPK phosphorylates Mps1 at S844 in Xenopus egg extracts. Interestingly, changing S844 to unphosphorylatable alanine (S844A) has no effect on the kinase activity of Mps1, although it abolishes the checkpoint function of Mps1. Biochemical and immunofluorescence studies show that S844A mutation perturbs kinetochore localization of Mps1 and other spindle-checkpoint proteins, whereas the phosphorylation-mimicking S844D mutant restores their functions. Our studies suggest that Mps1 phosphorylation by MAPK at S844 might create a phosphoepitope that allows Mps1 to interact with kinetochores. In addition, our results indicate that active Mps1 must localize to kinetochores in order to execute its checkpoint function.