To protect against aneuploidy, chromosomes must attach to microtubules from opposite poles ('biorientation') prior to their segregation during mitosis. Biorientation relies on the correction of erroneous attachments by the aurora B kinase, which destabilizes kinetochore-microtubule attachments that lack tension. Incorrect attachments are also avoided because sister kinetochores are intrinsically biased towards capture by microtubules from opposite poles. Here, we show that shugoshin acts as a pericentromeric adaptor that plays dual roles in biorientation in budding yeast. Shugoshin maintains the aurora B kinase at kinetochores that lack tension, thereby engaging the error correction machinery. Shugoshin also recruits the chromosome-organizing complex, condensin, to the pericentromere. Pericentromeric condensin biases sister kinetochores towards capture by microtubules from opposite poles. Our findings uncover the molecular basis of the bias to sister kinetochore capture and expose shugoshin as a pericentromeric hub controlling chromosome biorientation. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01374.001.
Keywords: aurora B; biorientation; condensin; mitosis; shugoshin.