A positive feedback loop involving Haspin and Aurora B promotes CPC accumulation at centromeres in mitosis

Curr Biol. 2011 Jun 21;21(12):1061-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.05.016. Epub 2011 Jun 9.


Haspin phosphorylates histone H3 at Thr3 (H3T3ph) during mitosis [1, 2], providing a chromatin binding site for the chromosomal passenger complex (CPC) at centromeres to regulate chromosome segregation [3-5]. H3T3ph becomes increasingly focused at inner centromeres during prometaphase [1, 2], but little is known about how its level or location and the consequent chromosomal localization of the CPC are regulated. In addition, CPC binding to shugoshin proteins contributes to centromeric Aurora B localization [5, 6]. Recruitment of the shugoshins to centromeres requires the phosphorylation of histone H2A at Thr120 (H2AT120ph) by the kinetochore kinase Bub1 [7], but the molecular basis for the collaboration of this pathway with H3T3ph has been unclear. Here, we show that Aurora B phosphorylates Haspin to promote generation of H3T3ph and that Aurora B kinase activity is required for normal chromosomal localization of the CPC, indicating an intimate linkage between Aurora B and Haspin functions in mitosis. We propose that Aurora B activity triggers a CPC-Haspin-H3T3ph feedback loop that promotes generation of H3T3ph on chromatin. We also provide evidence that the Bub1-shugoshin-CPC pathway supplies a signal that boosts the CPC-Haspin-H3T3ph feedback loop specifically at centromeres to produce the well-known accumulation of the CPC in these regions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aurora Kinase B
  • Aurora Kinases
  • Centromere*
  • Chromosomes, Human*
  • Feedback*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology*
  • Mitosis*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / physiology*
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • AURKB protein, human
  • Aurora Kinase B
  • Aurora Kinases
  • HASPIN protein, human
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases