, Volume 117, Issue 6, pp 521-533,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 02 Aug 2008

Bi-orienting chromosomes: acrobatics on the mitotic spindle

Abstract

To maintain their genetic integrity, eukaryotic cells must segregate their chromosomes properly to opposite poles during mitosis. This process mainly depends on the forces generated by microtubules that attach to kinetochores. During prometaphase, kinetochores initially interact with a single microtubule that extends from a spindle pole and then move towards a spindle pole. Subsequently, microtubules that extend from the other spindle pole also interact with kinetochores and, eventually, each sister kinetochore attaches to microtubules that extend from opposite poles (sister kinetochore bi-orientation). If sister kinetochores interact with microtubules in wrong orientation, this must be corrected before the onset of anaphase. Here, I discuss the processes leading to bi-orientation and the mechanisms ensuring this pivotal state that is required for proper chromosome segregation.