We have employed human autoantibodies to characterize a novel cell cycle-regulated nuclear protein, provisionally designated p330d (doublet polypeptide of 330 kDa). The expression and intracellular distribution of this protein was followed throughout the cell cycle using immunofluorescence microscopy, laser confocal microscopy, immunoelectron microscopy and flow cytometry. p330d was expressed only in proliferating cells and began accumulating in the nucleus during early S phase. The protein reached maximum expression levels during G2/M. In situ extractions with detergent, salt and nucleases failed to abolish the nuclear staining of interphase cells, suggesting a tight binding of p330d to the nuclear matrix during interphase. p330d was concentrated in the kinetochores during prophase but was relocated to the spindle midzone at the onset of anaphase. By late telophase, it was localized predominantly in the intercellular bridge regions flanking the midbody and disappeared gradually as the daughter cells separated. Immunoblotting analysis showed that the autoimmune sera recognized a doublet of 330 kDa, and affinity-purified antibodies from this doublet reproduced the fluorescence staining pattern of the whole serum. We propose that p330d is a novel member of the class of ‘chromosomal passenger’ proteins, which are associated transiently with centromeres during early mitosis and are then redistributed to other sites of the mitotic apparatus after the metaphase/anaphase transition. Possible in vivo functions for p330d and related proteins might include roles in centromere/kinetochore maturation and assembly, chromosome segregation, central spindle stabilization and cytokinesis.

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