THE mechanics of chromosome movement, mitotic spindle assembly and spindle elongation have long been central questions of cell biology1. After attachment in prometaphase of a micro-tubule from one pole, duplicated chromosome pairs travel towards the pole in a rapid but discontinuous motion2,3. This is followed by a slower congression towards the midplate as the chromosome pair orients with each kinetochore attached to the microtubules from the nearest pole. The pairs disjoin at anaphase and translocate to opposite poles and the interpolar distance increases. Here we identify CENP-E as a kinesin-like motor protein (Mr 312,000) that accumulates in the G2 phase of the cell cycle. CENP-E associates with kinetochores during congression, relocates to the spindle midzone at anaphase, and is quantitatively discarded at the end of the cell division. CENP-E is likely to be one of the motors responsible for mammalian chromosome movement and/or spindle elongation.
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