Centrioles are key microtubule polarity determinants. Centriole duplication is tightly controlled to prevent cells from developing multipolar spindles, a situation that promotes chromosomal instability. A conserved component in the duplication pathway is Plk4, a polo kinase family member that localizes to centrioles in M/G1. To limit centriole duplication, Plk4 levels are controlled through trans-autophosphorylation that primes ubiquitination. In contrast to Plks 1-3, Plk4 possesses a unique central region called the "cryptic polo box." Here, we present the crystal structure of this region at 2.3 Å resolution. Surprisingly, the structure reveals two tandem homodimerized polo boxes, PB1-PB2, that form a unique winged architecture. The full PB1-PB2 cassette is required for binding the centriolar protein Asterless as well as robust centriole targeting. Thus, with its C-terminal polo box (PB3), Plk4 has a triple polo box architecture that facilitates oligomerization, targeting, and promotes trans-autophosphorylation, limiting centriole duplication to once per cell cycle.
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