During mitosis, the Bub1–Bub3 complex concentrates at kinetochores, the microtubule-coupling interfaces on chromosomes, where it contributes to spindle checkpoint activation, kinetochore-spindle microtubule interactions, and protection of centromeric cohesion. Bub1 has a conserved N-terminal tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domain followed by a binding motif for its conserved interactor Bub3. The current model for Bub1–Bub3 localization to kinetochores is that Bub3, along with its bound motif from Bub1, recognizes phosphorylated “MELT” motifs in the kinetochore scaffold protein Knl1. Motivated by the greater phenotypic severity of BUB-1 versus BUB-3 loss in C. elegans, we show that the BUB-1 TPR domain directly recognizes a distinct class of phosphorylated motifs in KNL-1 and that this interaction is essential for BUB-1–BUB-3 localization and function. BUB-3 recognition of phospho-MELT motifs additively contributes to drive super-stoichiometric accumulation of BUB-1–BUB-3 on its KNL-1 scaffold during mitotic entry. Bub1’s TPR domain interacts with Knl1 in other species, suggesting that collaboration of TPR-dependent and Bub3-dependent interfaces in Bub1–Bub3 localization and functions may be conserved.

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