Journal of Cell Biology
α-Tubulin detyrosination impairs mitotic error correction by suppressing MCAK centromeric activity
Ferreira, L. T., Orr, B., Rajendraprasad, G., Pereira, A. J., Lemos, C., Lima, J. T., ... & Maiato, H.
Cell cycle and division, Cytoskeleton
Incorrect kinetochore–microtubule attachments during mitosis can lead to chromosomal instability, a hallmark of human cancers. Mitotic error correction relies on the kinesin-13 MCAK, a microtubule depolymerase whose activity in vitro is suppressed by α-tubulin detyrosination—a posttranslational modification enriched on long-lived microtubules. However, whether and how MCAK activity required for mitotic error correction is regulated by α-tubulin detyrosination remains unknown. Here we found that detyrosinated α-tubulin accumulates on correct, more stable, kinetochore–microtubule attachments. Experimental manipulation of tubulin tyrosine ligase (TTL) or carboxypeptidase (Vasohibins-SVBP) activities to constitutively increase α-tubulin detyrosination near kinetochores compromised efficient error correction, without affecting overall kinetochore microtubule stability. Rescue experiments indicate that MCAK centromeric activity was required and sufficient to correct the mitotic errors caused by excessive α-tubulin detyrosination independently of its global impact on microtubule dynamics. Thus, microtubules are not just passive elements during mitotic error correction, and the extent of α-tubulin detyrosination allows centromeric MCAK to discriminate correct vs. incorrect kinetochore–microtubule attachments, thereby promoting mitotic fidelity.