Chromosome fragments possessing only one kinetochore can congress to the spindle equator. Academic Article uri icon


  • We used laser microsurgery to cut between the two sister kinetochores on bioriented prometaphase chromosomes to produce two chromosome fragments containing one kinetochore (CF1K). Each of these CF1Ks then always moved toward the spindle pole to which their kinetochores were attached before initiating the poleward and away-from-the-pole oscillatory motions characteristic of monooriented chromosomes. CF1Ks then either: (a) remained closely associated with this pole until anaphase (50%), (b) moved (i.e., congressed) to the spindle equator (38%), where they usually (13/19 cells) remained stably positioned throughout the ensuing anaphase, or (c) reoriented and moved to the other pole (12%). Behavior of congressing CF1Ks was indistinguishable from that of congressing chromosomes containing two sister kinetochores. Three-dimensional electron microscopic tomographic reconstructions of CF1Ks stably positioned on the spindle equator during anaphase revealed that the single kinetochore was highly stretched and/or fragmented and that numerous microtubules derived from the opposing spindle poles terminated in its structure. These observations reveal that a single kinetochore is capable of simultaneously supporting the function of two sister kinetochores during chromosome congression and imply that vertebrate kinetochores consist of multiple domains whose motility states can be regulated independently.

publication date

  • January 27, 1997