The microtubule binding properties of CENP-E's C-terminus and CENP-F
CENP-E (Centromere Protein E) and CENP-F, also known as mitosin, are large, multi-functional proteins associated with the outer kinetochore. CENP-E features a well-characterized kinesin motor domain at its N-terminus and a second microtubule-binding domain at its C-terminus of unknown function. CENP-F is important for the formation of proper kinetochore-microtubule attachment and, like CENP-E, contains two microtubule-binding domains at its termini. While the importance of these proteins is known, the details of their interactions with microtubules have not yet been investigated. We have biochemically and structurally characterized the microtubule-binding properties of the amino- and carboxyl-terminal domains of CENP-F as well as the carboxyl-terminal (non-kinesin) domain of CENP-E. CENP-E's C-terminus and CENP-F's N-terminus bind microtubules with similar affinity to the well-characterized Ndc80 complex, while CENP-F's C-terminus shows much lower affinity. Electron microscopy analysis reveals that all of these domains engage the microtubule surface in a disordered manner, suggesting that these factors have no favored binding geometry and may allow for initial side-on attachments early in mitosis.
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