Dynamic microtubules facilitate chromosome arrangement before anaphase, whereas during anaphase microtubule stability assists chromosome separation. Changes in microtubule dynamics at the metaphase–anaphase transition are regulated by Cdk1. Cdk1-mediated phosphorylation of Sli15/INCENP promotes preanaphase microtubule dynamics by preventing chromosomal passenger complex (CPC; Sli15/INCENP, Bir1/Survivin, Nbl1/Borealin, Ipl1/Aurora) association with spindles. However, whether Cdk1 has sole control over microtubule dynamics, and how CPC–microtubule association influences microtubule behavior, are unclear. Here, we show that Ipl1/Aurora-dependent phosphorylation of Sli15/INCENP modulates microtubule dynamics by preventing CPC binding to the preanaphase spindle and to the central spindle until late anaphase, facilitating spatiotemporal control of microtubule dynamics required for proper metaphase centromere positioning and anaphase spindle elongation. Decreased Ipl1-dependent Sli15 phosphorylation drives direct CPC binding to microtubules, revealing how the CPC influences microtubule dynamics. We propose that Cdk1 and Ipl1/Aurora cooperatively modulate microtubule dynamics and that Ipl1/Aurora-dependent phosphorylation of Sli15 controls spindle function by excluding the CPC from spindle regions engaged in microtubule polymerization.
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