We describe a novel set of polypeptide antigens that shows a dramatic change in structural localization during mitosis. Through metaphase these antigens define a new chromosomal substructure that is located between the sister chromatids. Because the antigens are concentrated in the pericentromeric region, we have provisionally termed them the INCENPs (inner centromere proteins). The INCENPs (two polypeptides of 155 and 135 kD) were identified with a monoclonal antibody that was raised against the bulk proteins of the mitotic chromosome scaffold fraction. These two polypeptides are the most tightly bound chromosomal proteins known. When scaffolds are prepared, 100% of the detectable INCENPs remain scaffold associated. We were therefore unprepared for the fate of the INCENPs at anaphase. As the sister chromatids separate, the INCENPs dissociate fully from them, remaining behind at the metaphase plate as the chromatids migrate to the spindle poles. During anaphase the INCENPs are found on coarse fibers in the central spindle, and also in close apposition to the cell membrane in the region of the forming contractile ring. During telophase, the INCENPs gradually become focused onto the forming midbody, together with which they are ultimately discarded. Several possible in vivo roles for the INCENPs are suggested by these data: regulation of sister chromatid pairing, stabilization of the plane of cleavage, and separation of spindle poles at anaphase.

This content is only available as a PDF.