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Science 330 (6001): 235-239

Copyright © 2010 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Survivin Reads Phosphorylated Histone H3 Threonine 3 to Activate the Mitotic Kinase Aurora B

Alexander E. Kelly,1,*,{dagger} Cristina Ghenoiu,1,2,* John Z. Xue,1 Christian Zierhut,1 Hiroshi Kimura,3 Hironori Funabiki1,{dagger}

Abstract: A hallmark of mitosis is the appearance of high levels of histone phosphorylation, yet the roles of these modifications remain largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that histone H3 phosphorylated at threonine 3 is directly recognized by an evolutionarily conserved binding pocket in the BIR domain of Survivin, which is a member of the chromosomal passenger complex (CPC). This binding mediates recruitment of the CPC to chromosomes and the resulting activation of its kinase subunit Aurora B. Consistently, modulation of the kinase activity of Haspin, which phosphorylates H3T3, leads to defects in the Aurora B–dependent processes of spindle assembly and inhibition of nuclear reformation. These findings establish a direct cellular role for mitotic histone H3T3 phosphorylation, which is read and translated by the CPC to ensure accurate cell division.

1 Laboratory of Chromosome and Cell Biology, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10065, USA.
2 Weill Cornell Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Department of Molecular Biology, Cornell Medical School, New York, NY 10021, USA.
3 School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: funabih{at} (H.F.); akelly{at} (A.E.K.)

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