Accurate chromosome segregation requires coordination between the dissolution of sister-chromatid cohesion and the establishment of proper kinetochore-microtubule attachment. During mitosis, sister-chromatid cohesion at centromeres enables the biorientation of and tension across sister kinetochores. The complex between shugoshin and protein phosphatase 2A (Sgo1-PP2A) localizes to centromeres in mitosis, binds to cohesin in a reaction requiring Cdk-dependent phosphorylation of Sgo1, dephosphorylates cohesin-bound sororin, and protects a centromeric pool of cohesin from mitotic kinases and the cohesin inhibitor Wapl. Cleavage of centromeric cohesin by separase allows sister chromatids connected to microtubules from opposing poles to be evenly partitioned into daughter cells. The centromeric localization of Sgo1 requires histone H2A phosphorylation at T120 (H2A-pT120) by the kinase Bub1. The exact role of H2A-pT120 in Sgo1 regulation is, however, unclear. Here, we show that cohesin and H2A-pT120 specify two distinct pools of Sgo1-P2A at inner centromeres and kinetochores, respectively, in human cells. Bub1 inactivation delocalizes cohesin-Sgo1 to chromosome arms. Kinetochore tension triggers Sgo1 dephosphorylation and redistributes Sgo1 from inner centromeres to kinetochores. Incomplete Sgo1 redistribution causes chromosome nondisjunction. Our study suggests that Bub1-mediated H2A phosphorylation penetrates kinetochores and that this histone mark contributes to a tension-sensitive Sgo1-based molecular switch for chromosome segregation.
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