Most cancer cells show chromosomal instability, a condition where chromosome missegregation occurs frequently. We found that chromosome oscillation, an iterative chromosome motion during metaphase, is attenuated in cancer cell lines. We also found that metaphase phosphorylation of Hec1 at serine 55, which is mainly dependent on Aurora A on the spindle, is reduced in cancer cell lines. The Aurora A–dependent Hec1-S55 phosphorylation level was regulated by the chromosome oscillation amplitude and vice versa: Hec1-S55 and -S69 phosphorylation by Aurora A is required for efficient chromosome oscillation. Furthermore, enhancement of chromosome oscillation reduced the number of erroneous kinetochore–microtubule attachments and chromosome missegregation, whereas inhibition of Aurora A during metaphase increased such errors. We propose that Aurora A–mediated metaphase Hec1-S55 phosphorylation through chromosome oscillation, together with Hec1-S69 phosphorylation, ensures mitotic fidelity by eliminating erroneous kinetochore–microtubule attachments. Attenuated chromosome oscillation and the resulting reduced Hec1-S55 phosphorylation may be a cause of CIN in cancer cell lines.

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