Stable kinetochore-microtubule attachment requires loop-dependent Ndc80-Ndc80 binding
Polley S, Müschenborn H, Terbeck M, De Antoni A, Vetter IR, Dogterom M, Musacchio A, Volkov VA, Huis In 't Veld PJ. EMBO J (2023)
During cell division, kinetochores link chromosomes to spindle microtubules. The Ndc80 complex, a crucial microtubule binder, populates each kinetochore with dozens of copies. Whether adjacent Ndc80 complexes cooperate to promote microtubule binding remains unclear. Here the Musacchio lab demonstrate that the Ndc80 loop, a short sequence that interrupts the Ndc80 coiled-coil at a conserved position, folds into a more rigid structure than previously assumed and promotes direct interactions between full-length Ndc80 complexes on microtubules. Mutations in the loop impair these Ndc80-Ndc80 interactions, prevent the formation of force-resistant kinetochore-microtubule attachments, and cause cells to arrest in mitosis for hours. This arrest is not due to an inability to recruit the kinetochore-microtubule stabilizing SKA complex and cannot be overridden by mutations in the Ndc80 tail that strengthen microtubule attachment. Thus, loop-mediated organization of adjacent Ndc80 complexes is crucial for stable end-on kinetochore-microtubule attachment and spindle assembly checkpoint satisfaction.