CENP-E is a kinesin-like protein that binds to kinetochores through the early stages of mitosis, but after initiation of anaphase, it relocalizes to the overlapping microtubules in the midzone, ultimately concentration in the developing midbody. By immunoblotting of cells separated at various positions in the cell cycle using centrifugal elutriation, we show that CENP-E levels increase progressively across the cycle peaking at approximately 22,000 molecules/cell early in mitosis, followed by an abrupt (> 10 fold) loss at the end of mitosis. Pulse-labeling with [35S]methionine reveals that beyond a twofold increase in synthesis between G1 and G2, interphase accumulation results primarily from stabilization of CENP-E during S and G2. Despite localizing in the midbody during normal cell division, CENP-E loss at the end of mitosis is independent of cytokinesis, since complete blockage of division with cytochalasin has no affect on CENP-E loss at the M/G1 transition. Thus, like mitotic cyclins, CENP-E accumulation peaks before cell division, and it is specifically degraded at the end of mitosis. However, CENP-E degradation kinetically follows proteolysis of cyclin B in anaphase. Combined with cyclin A destruction before the end of metaphase, degradation of as yet unidentified components at the metaphase/anaphase transition, and cyclin B degradation at or after the anaphase transition, CENP-E destruction defines a fourth point in a mitotic cascade of timed proteolysis.

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