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We have investigated the function of mitotic kinesin-like protein (MKlp) 2, a kinesin localized to the central spindle, and demonstrate that its depletion results in a failure of cleavage furrow ingression and cytokinesis, and disrupts localization of polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1). MKlp2 is a target for Plk1, and phosphorylated MKlp2 binds to the polo box domain of Plk1. Plk1 also binds directly to microtubules and targets to the central spindle via its polo box domain, and this interaction controls the activity of Plk1 toward MKlp2. An antibody to the neck region of MKlp2 that prevents phosphorylation of MKlp2 by Plk1 causes a cytokinesis defect when introduced into cells. We propose that phosphorylation of MKlp2 by Plk1 is necessary for the spatial restriction of Plk1 to the central spindle during anaphase and telophase, and the complex of these two proteins is required for cytokinesis.

Original publication




Journal article


J Cell Biol

Publication Date





863 - 875


Cell Cycle Proteins, Cell Division, Cyclin B, HeLa Cells, Humans, Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins, Kinesin, Microtubule-Associated Proteins, Microtubules, Neoplasm Proteins, Phosphorylation, Protein Binding, Protein Kinases, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases, Proto-Oncogene Proteins, RNA, Small Interfering, Spindle Apparatus, Tubulin