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The mitotic checkpoint complex (MCC): looking back and forth after 15 years

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Toledo, 2801 West Bancroft St., Toledo, OH 43606, USA

Topical Section: Cells Signalling and Signal Transduction

The mitotic checkpoint is a specialized signal transduction pathway that contributes to the fidelity of chromosome segregation. The signaling of the checkpoint originates from defective kinetochore-microtubule interactions and leads to formation of the mitotic checkpoint complex (MCC), a highly potent inhibitor of the Anaphase Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C)—the E3 ubiquitin ligase essential for anaphase onset. Many important questions concerning the MCC and its interaction with APC/C have been intensively investigated and debated in the past 15 years, such as the exact composition of the MCC, how it is assembled during a cell cycle, how it inhibits APC/C, and how the MCC is disassembled to allow APC/C activation. These efforts have culminated in recently reported structure models for human MCC:APC/C supra-complexes at near-atomic resolution that shed light on multiple aspects of the mitotic checkpoint mechanisms. However, confusing statements regarding the MCC are still scattered in the literature, making it difficult for students and scientists alike to obtain a clear picture of MCC composition, structure, function and dynamics. This review will comb through some of the most popular concepts or misconceptions about the MCC, discuss our current understandings, present a synthesized model on regulation of CDC20 ubiquitination, and suggest a few future endeavors and cautions for next phase of MCC research.
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