Mitotic arrest deficiency protein 1 (Mad1) is associated with microtubule-unattached kinetochores in mitotic cells and is a component of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC). Here, we have studied the phosphorylation of Mad1 and mapped using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry several phosphorylated amino acids in this protein. One phosphorylated residue, Thr680, was characterized to be important for the kinetochore localization of Mad1 and its SAC function. We also found that in mitotic cells Mad1 co-immunoprecipitated with Plk1. Depletion of cellular Plk1 using small interfering RNAs and inhibition of the kinase activity of Plk1 using a kinase-dead mutant or a small molecule inhibitor attenuated Mad1 phosphorylation and its association with kinetochores. Collectively, these findings indicate mechanistic roles contributed by protein phosphorylation and Plk1 to the SAC activity of Mad1.