For over 70 years, chromosomes have been known to oscillate back-and-forth on the metaphase plate. These movements are directed by kinetochores, the microtubule-attachment complexes on centromeres that regulate the dynamics of bound spindle microtubules. Recent evidence shows that the CCAN (Constitutive Centromere Associated Network) kinetochore network, which directly binds centromeric nucleosomes, plays a crucial role in the control of kinetochore microtubule dynamics. Here we review how this 15-subunit protein network functions within the kinetochore machinery, how it may adapt dynamically both in time and in space to the functional requirements necessary for controlled and faithful chromosome movements during cell division, and how this conserved protein network may have evolved in organisms with different cell division machineries.
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