Background: The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) arrests cells when kinetochores are unattached to spindle microtubules. The signaling pathway is initiated at the kinetochores by one SAC component, Mad2, which catalyzes the initial steps of the cascade via the conformational dimerization of its open and closed conformers. Away from kinetochores, the dimerization surface of Mad2 has been proposed, based on data in vitro, to either interact with SAC activators or inactivators and thus to contribute to SAC activation or silencing. Here, we analyze its role in vivo.
Results: To analyze the putative pathway downstream of the kinetochores, we used two complementary approaches: we activated the SAC ectopically and independently from kinetochores, and we separated genetically the kinetochore-dependent and independent pools of Mad2. We found that the dimerization surface is required also downstream of kinetochores to mount a checkpoint response.
Conclusion: Our results show that away from kinetochores the dimerization surface is required for stabilizing the end-product of the pathway, the mitotic checkpoint complex. Surprisingly, downstream of kinetochores the surface does not mediate Mad2 dimerization. Instead, our results are consistent with a role of Mad3 as the main interactor of Mad2 via the dimerization surface.
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