The kinetochore-microtubule coupling machinery is repurposed in sensory nervous system morphogenesis

Dhanya K Cheerambathur, Bram Prevo, Tiffany-Lynn Chow, Neil Hattersley, Shaohe Wang, Zhiling Zhao, Taekyung Kim, Adina Gerson-Gurwitz, Karen Oegema, Rebecca Green, Arshad Desai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dynamic coupling of microtubule ends to kinetochores, built on the centromeres of chromosomes, directs chromosome segregation during cell division. Here, we report that the evolutionarily ancient kinetochore-microtubule coupling machine, the KMN (Knl1/Mis12/Ndc80-complex) network, plays a critical role in neuronal morphogenesis. We show that the KMN network concentrates in microtubule-rich dendrites of developing sensory neurons that collectively extend in a multicellular morphogenetic event that occurs during C. elegans embryogenesis. Post-mitotic degradation of KMN components in sensory neurons disrupts dendritic extension, leading to patterning and functional defects in the sensory nervous system. Structure-guided mutations revealed that the molecular interface that couples kinetochores to spindle microtubules also functions in neuronal development. These results identify a cell-division-independent function for the chromosome-segregation machinery and define a microtubule-coupling-dependent event in sensory nervous system morphogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)P864-872.E7
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Issue number6
Early online date28 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2019


  • KMN network
  • Knl1
  • Mis12 complex
  • Ndc80 complex
  • chromosome segregation
  • dendrite
  • kinetochore
  • microtubule
  • mitosis
  • morphogenesis
  • nervous system
  • sensory neuron

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