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The chromosomal passenger complex (CPC), consisting of the serine/threonine kinase Aurora B, the inner centromere protein INCENP, Survivin, and Borealin/DasraB, has essential functions at the centromere in ensuring correct chromosome alignment and segregation. Despite observations that small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of any one member of the CPC abolishes localization of the other subunits, it remains unclear how the complex is targeted to the centromere. We have now identified a ternary subcomplex of the CPC comprising Survivin, Borealin, and the N-terminal 58 amino acids of INCENP in vitro and in vivo. This subcomplex was found to be essential and sufficient for targeting to the centromere. Notably, Aurora B kinase, the enzymatic core of the CPC, was not required for centromere localization of the subcomplex. We demonstrate that CPC targeting to the centromere does not depend on CENP-A and hMis12, two core components for kinetochore/centromere assembly, and provide evidence that the CPC may be directed to centromeric DNA directly via the Borealin subunit. Our findings thus establish a functional module within the CPC that assembles on the N terminus of INCENP and controls centromere recruitment.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Biol Cell

Publication Date





2547 - 2558


Base Sequence, Binding Sites, Cell Cycle Proteins, Centromere, Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone, HeLa Cells, Humans, Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins, Macromolecular Substances, Microtubule-Associated Proteins, Neoplasm Proteins, Peptide Fragments, Transcription, Genetic