Coordination between the Ndc80 complex and dynein is essential for microtubule plus-end capture by kinetochores during early mitosis

Mohammed Abdullahel Amin*, Manas Chakraborty, Destiny Ariel Wallace, Dileep Varma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mitotic kinetochores are initially captured by dynamic microtubules via a “search-and-capture” mechanism. The microtubule motor, dynein, is critical for kinetochore capture as it has been shown to transport microtubule-attached chromosomes toward the spindle pole during prometaphase. The microtubule-binding nuclear division cycle 80 (Ndc80) complex that is recruited to kinetochores in prophase is known to play a central role in forming kinetochore-microtubule (kMT) attachments in metaphase. It is not yet clear, however, how Ndc80 contributes to initial kMT capture during prometaphase. Here, by combining CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout and RNAi technology with assays specific to study kMT capture, we show that mitotic cells lacking Ndc80 exhibit substantial defects in this function during prometaphase. Rescue experiments show that Ndc80 mutants deficient in microtubule-binding are unable to execute proper kMT capture. While cells inhibited of dynein alone are predominantly able to make initial kMT attachments, cells co-depleted of Ndc80 and dynein show severe defects in kMT capture. Further, we use an in vitro total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy assay to reconstitute microtubule capture events, which suggest that Ndc80 and dynein coordinate with each other for microtubule plus-end capture and that the phosphorylation status of Ndc80 is critical for productive kMT capture. A novel interaction between Ndc80 and dynein that we identify in prometaphase extracts might be critical for efficient plus-end capture. Thus, our studies, for the first time, identify a distinct event in the formation of initial kMT attachments, which is directly mediated by Ndc80 and in coordination with dynein is required for efficient kMT capture and chromosome alignment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104711
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • CRISPR-Cas9
  • Mitosis
  • Ndc80
  • attachment
  • capture
  • dynein
  • in vitro reconstitution
  • kinetochore
  • kinetochore-null
  • microtubule
  • plus-end
  • siRNA
  • spindle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Coordination between the Ndc80 complex and dynein is essential for microtubule plus-end capture by kinetochores during early mitosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this