Regulated targeting of protein phosphatase 1 to the outer kinetochore by KNL1 opposes Aurora B kinase

J Cell Biol. 2010 Mar 22;188(6):809-20. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201001006. Epub 2010 Mar 15.


Regulated interactions between kinetochores and spindle microtubules are essential to maintain genomic stability during chromosome segregation. The Aurora B kinase phosphorylates kinetochore substrates to destabilize kinetochore-microtubule interactions and eliminate incorrect attachments. These substrates must be dephosphorylated to stabilize correct attachments, but how opposing kinase and phosphatase activities are coordinated at the kinetochore is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that a conserved motif in the kinetochore protein KNL1 directly interacts with and targets protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) to the outer kinetochore. PP1 recruitment by KNL1 is required to dephosphorylate Aurora B substrates at kinetochores and stabilize microtubule attachments. PP1 levels at kinetochores are regulated and inversely proportional to local Aurora B activity. Indeed, we demonstrate that phosphorylation of KNL1 by Aurora B disrupts the KNL1-PP1 interaction. In total, our results support a positive feedback mechanism by which Aurora B activity at kinetochores not only targets substrates directly, but also prevents localization of the opposing phosphatase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs / genetics
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Aurora Kinase B
  • Aurora Kinases
  • Conserved Sequence
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Phosphatase 1 / metabolism*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Knl1 protein, human
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • AURKB protein, human
  • Aurora Kinase B
  • Aurora Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Protein Phosphatase 1