The Ran GTPase controls many cellular functions, including nucleocytoplasmic trafficking, spindle assembly, nuclear assembly and cell-cycle progression. Considerable evidence suggests that diffusible Ran-GTP near mitotic chromatin facilitates the release of critical factors from nuclear transport receptors, thereby promoting organization of mitotic spindles with respect to chromosomes. In addition to this role of soluble Ran-GTP, Ran has two important but less understood roles at mitotic kinetochores. Namely, it is essential for regulation of the spindle assembly checkpoint and for assembly of microtubule fibres that attach kinetochores to spindle poles. Here, I will briefly summarize evidence for these kinetochore-associated functions and mention some of the issues that remain to be addressed regarding them.

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