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The kinetochore is the multi-protein complex that drives chromosome segregation in eukaryotes. It assembles onto centromeric DNA and mediates attachment to spindle microtubules. Kinetochore research over the last several decades has been focused on a few animal and fungal model organisms, which revealed a detailed understanding of the composition and organization of their kinetochores. Yet, these traditional model organisms represent only a small fraction of all eukaryotes. To gain insights into the actual degree of kinetochore diversity, it is critical to extend these studies to nontraditional model organisms from evolutionarily distant lineages. In this chapter, we review the current knowledge of kinetochores across diverse eukaryotes with an emphasis on variations that arose in nontraditional model organisms. In addition, we also review the literature on species, in which the subcellular localization of kinetochores has changed from the nucleoplasm to the nuclear membrane. Finally, we speculate on the organization of the chromosome segregation machinery in an early eukaryotic ancestor to gain insights into fundamental principles of the chromosome segregation machinery, which are common to all eukaryotes.

Original publication




Journal article


Prog Mol Subcell Biol

Publication Date





111 - 138