CCAN assembly configures composite binding interfaces to promote cross-linking of Ndc80 complexes at the kinetochore
Partitioning of the genome requires kinetochores, large protein complexes that mediate dynamic attachment of chromosomes to the spindle. Kinetochores contain two supramolecular protein assemblies. The ten-protein KMN network harbors key microtubule-binding sites in the Ndc80 complex and mediates assembly of checkpoint complexes via the KNL-1/Spc105 protein [1, 2]. As KMN does not contact DNA directly, it relies on different centromere-binding proteins for recruitment and cell-cycle-dependent assembly. These proteins are collectively referred to as the CCAN (constitutive centromere-associated network) [2-4]. The molecular mechanisms by which CCAN subunits associate, however, have remained incompletely defined. In particular, it is unclear how CCAN subunits facilitate the assembly of a microtubule-binding interface that contains multiple Ndc80 molecules bound to different receptors . Here, we dissect molecular mechanisms that underlie targeting of the CCAN subunit Cnn1/CENP-T to the sequence-determined point centromeres of budding yeast. Systematic quantitative mass spectrometry experiments reveal association dependencies within the yeast CCAN network. We show that evolutionarily conserved residues in the histone-fold domain of Cnn1 are required for the formation of a stable five-subunit CCAN subassembly with the Ctf3 complex. Cnn1 localizes in a Ctf3-dependent manner to the core of the yeast point centromere, overlapping with the yeast CENP-A protein Cse4. By arranging the N-terminal domains of the CCAN subunits Mcm16, Mcm22, and Cnn1 into close proximity, the Ctf3c-Cnn1-Wip1 complex configures a composite interaction site for two molecules of the Ndc80 complex. Our experiments show how cooperative assembly mechanisms organize the microtubule-binding interface of the kinetochore.