The KMN protein network - Chief conductors of the kinetochore orchestra

Dileep Varma*, E. D. Salmon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Successful completion of mitosis requires that sister kinetochores become attached end-on to the plus ends of spindle microtubules (MTs) in prometaphase, thereby forming kinetochore microtubules (kMTs) that tether one sister to one spindle pole and the other sister to the opposite pole. Sites for kMT attachment provide at least four key functions: robust and dynamic kMT anchorage; force generation that can be coupled to kMT plus-end dynamics; correction of errors in kMT attachment; and control of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC). The SAC typically delays anaphase until chromosomes achieve metaphase alignment with each sister kinetochore acquiring a full complement of kMTs. Although it has been known for over 30 years that MT motor proteins reside at kinetochores, a highly conserved network of protein complexes, called the KMN network, has emerged in recent years as the primary interface between the kinetochore and kMTs. This Commentary will summarize recent advances in our understanding of the role of the KMN network for the key kinetochore functions, with a focus on human cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5927-5936
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2012


  • Checkpoint
  • KNL1
  • Kinetochore
  • MIS12
  • Mitosis
  • NDC80

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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