The mitotic spindle is a complex and dynamic structure. Genetic analysis in budding yeast has identified two sets of kinesin-like motors, Cin8p and Kip1p, and Kar3p and Kip3p, that have overlapping functions in mitosis. We have studied the role of three of these motors by video microscopy of motor mutants whose microtubules and centromeres were marked with green fluorescent protein. Despite their functional overlap, each motor mutant has a specific defect in mitosis: cin8Δ mutants lack the rapid phase of anaphase B, kip1Δ mutants show defects in the slow phase of anaphase B, and kip3Δ mutants prolong the duration of anaphase to the point at which the spindle becomes longer than the cell. The kip3Δ and kip1Δ mutants affect the duration of anaphase, but cin8Δ does not.
mitosis; kinesin; microtubule; anaphase; yeast
Two Saccharomyces cerevisiae kinesin-related motors, Cin8p and Kip1p, perform an essential role in the separation of spindle poles during spindle assembly and a major role in spindle elongation. Cin8p and Kip1p are also required to prevent an inward spindle collapse prior to anaphase. A third kinesin-related motor, Kar3p, may act antagonistically to Cin8p and Kip1p since loss of Kar3p partially suppresses the spindle collapse in cin8 kip1 mutants. We have tested the relationship between Cin8p and Kar3p by overexpressing both motors using the inducible GAL1 promoter. Overexpression of KAR3 results in a shrinkage of spindle size and a temperature-dependent inhibition of the growth of wild-type cells. Excess Kar3p has a stronger inhibitory effect on the growth of cin8 kip1 mutants and can completely block anaphase spindle elongation in these cells. In contrast, overexpression of CIN8 leads to premature spindle elongation in all cells tested. This is the first direct demonstration of antagonistic motors acting on the intact spindle and suggests that spindle length is determined by the relative activity of Kar3p-like and Cin8p/Kip1p-like motors.
Two Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes, CIN8 and KIP1 (a.k.a. CIN9), were identified by their requirement for normal chromosome segregation. Both genes encode polypeptides related to the heavy chain of the microtubule- based force-generating enzyme kinesin. Cin8p was found to be required for pole separation during mitotic spindle assembly at 37 degrees C, although overproduced Kip1p could substitute. At lower temperatures, the activity of at least one of these proteins was required for cell viability, indicating that they perform an essential but redundant function. Cin8p was observed to be a component of the mitotic spindle, colocalizing with the microtubules that lie between the poles. Taken together, these findings suggest that these proteins interact with spindle microtubules to produce an outwardly directed force acting upon the poles.
Kinesin-related Cin8p is the most important spindle-pole-separating motor in Saccharomyces cerevisiae but is not essential for cell viability. We identified 20 genes whose products are specifically required by cell deficient for Cin8p. All are associated with mitotic roles and represent at least four different functional pathways. These include genes whose products act in two spindle motor pathways that overlap in function with Cin8p, the kinesin-related Kip1p pathway and the cytoplasmic dynein pathway. In addition, genes required for mitotic spindle checkpoint function and for normal microtubule stability were recovered. Mutant alleles of eight genes caused phenotypes similar to dyn1 (encodes the dynein heavy chain), including a spindle-positioning defect. We provide evidence that the products of these genes function in concept with dynein. Among the dynein pathway gene products, we found homologues of the cytoplasmic dynein intermediate chain, the p150Glued subunit of the dynactin complex, and human LIS-1, required for normal brain development. These findings illustrate the complex cellular interactions exhibited by Cin8p, a member of a conserved spindle motor family.
Kinesins are motor proteins which are classified into 11 different families. We identified 11 kinesin-like proteins in the genome of the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans. Relatedness analyses based on the motor domains grouped them into nine families. In this paper, we characterize KipB as a member of the Kip3 family of microtubule depolymerases. The closest homologues of KipB are Saccharomyces cerevisiae Kip3 and Schizosaccharomyces pombe Klp5 and Klp6, but sequence similarities outside the motor domain are very low. A disruption of kipB demonstrated that it is not essential for vegetative growth. kipB mutant strains were resistant to high concentrations of the microtubule-destabilizing drug benomyl, suggesting that KipB destabilizes microtubules. kipB mutations caused a failure of spindle positioning in the cell, a delay in mitotic progression, an increased number of bent mitotic spindles, and a decrease in the depolymerization of cytoplasmic microtubules during interphase and mitosis. Meiosis and ascospore formation were not affected. Disruption of the kipB gene was synthetically lethal in combination with the temperature-sensitive mitotic kinesin motor mutation bimC4, suggesting an important but redundant role of KipB in mitosis. KipB localized to cytoplasmic, astral, and mitotic microtubules in a discontinuous pattern, and spots of green fluorescent protein moved along microtubules toward the plus ends.
Accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis requires biorientation of sister chromatids on the microtubules (MT) of the mitotic spindle. Chromosome–MT binding is mediated by kinetochores, which are multiprotein structures that assemble on centromeric (CEN) DNA. The simple CENs of budding yeast are among the best understood, but the roles of kinesin motor proteins at yeast kinetochores have yet to be determined, despite evidence of their importance in higher eukaryotes. We show that all four nuclear kinesins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae localize to kinetochores and function in three distinct processes. Kip1p and Cin8p, which are kinesin-5/BimC family members, cluster kinetochores into their characteristic bilobed metaphase configuration. Kip3p, a kinesin-8,-13/KinI kinesin, synchronizes poleward kinetochore movement during anaphase A. The kinesin-14 motor Kar3p appears to function at the subset of kinetochores that become detached from spindle MTs. These data demonstrate roles for structurally diverse motors in the complex processes of chromosome segregation and reveal important similarities and intriguing differences between higher and lower eukaryotes.
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae kinesin-related gene products Cin8p and Kip1p function to assemble the bipolar mitotic spindle. The cytoplasmic dynein heavy chain homologue Dyn1p (also known as Dhc1p) participates in proper cellular positioning of the spindle. In this study, the roles of these motor proteins in anaphase chromosome segregation were examined. While no single motor was essential, loss of function of all three completely halted anaphase chromatin separation. As combined motor activity was diminished by mutation, both the velocity and extent of chromatin movement were reduced, suggesting a direct role for all three motors in generating a chromosome-separating force. Redundancy for function between different types of microtubule-based motor proteins was also indicated by the observation that cin8 dyn1 double- deletion mutants are inviable. Our findings indicate that the bulk of anaphase chromosome segregation in S. cerevisiae is accomplished by the combined actions of these three motors.
The roles of two kinesin-related proteins, Kip2p and Kip3p, in
microtubule function and nuclear migration were investigated. Deletion
of either gene resulted in nuclear migration defects similar to those
described for dynein and kar9 mutants. By indirect
immunofluorescence, the cytoplasmic microtubules in
kip2Δwere consistently short or absent throughout the
cell cycle. In contrast, in kip3Δ strains, the
cytoplasmic microtubules were significantly longer than wild type at
telophase. Furthermore, in the kip3Δ cells with
nuclear positioning defects, the cytoplasmic microtubules were
misoriented and failed to extend into the bud. Localization studies
found Kip2p exclusively on cytoplasmic microtubules throughout the cell
cycle, whereas GFP-Kip3p localized to both spindle and cytoplasmic
microtubules. Genetic analysis demonstrated that the
kip2Δ kar9Δ double mutants were
synthetically lethal, whereas kip3Δ
kar9Δ double mutants were viable. Conversely,
kip3Δ dhc1Δ double mutants were
synthetically lethal, whereas kip2Δ
dhc1Δ double mutants were viable. We suggest that the
kinesin-related proteins, Kip2p and Kip3p, function in nuclear
migration and that they do so by different mechanisms. We propose that
Kip2p stabilizes microtubules and is required as part of the
dynein-mediated pathway in nuclear migration. Furthermore, we propose
that Kip3p functions, in part, by depolymerizing microtubules and is
required for the Kar9p-dependent orientation of the cytoplasmic
Spindle orientation and nuclear migration are crucial events in cell growth and differentiation of many eukaryotes. Here we show that KIP3, the sixth and final kinesin-related gene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is required for migration of the nucleus to the bud site in preparation for mitosis. The position of the nucleus in the cell and the orientation of the mitotic spindle was examined by microscopy of fixed cells and by time-lapse microscopy of individual live cells. Mutations in KIP3 and in the dynein heavy chain gene defined two distinct phases of nuclear migration: a KIP3-dependent movement of the nucleus toward the incipient bud site and a dynein-dependent translocation of the nucleus through the bud neck during anaphase. Loss of KIP3 function disrupts the unidirectional movement of the nucleus toward the bud and mitotic spindle orientation, causing large oscillations in nuclear position. The oscillatory motions sometimes brought the nucleus in close proximity to the bud neck, possibly accounting for the viability of a kip3 null mutant. The kip3 null mutant exhibits normal translocation of the nucleus through the neck and normal spindle pole separation kinetics during anaphase. Simultaneous loss of KIP3 and kinesin-related KAR3 function, or of KIP3 and dynein function, is lethal but does not block any additional detectable movement. This suggests that the lethality is due to the combination of sequential and possibly overlapping defects. Epitope-tagged Kip3p localizes to astral and central spindle microtubules and is also present throughout the cytoplasm and nucleus.
The single cytoplasmic dynein and five of the six kinesin-related proteins encoded by Saccharomyces cerevisiae participate in mitotic spindle function. Some of the motors operate within the nucleus to assemble and elongate the bipolar spindle. Others operate on the cytoplasmic microtubules to effect spindle and nuclear positioning within the cell. This study reveals that kinesin-related Kar3p and Kip3p are unique in that they perform roles both inside and outside the nucleus. Kar3p, like Kip3p, was found to be required for spindle positioning in the absence of dynein. The spindle positioning role of Kar3p is performed in concert with the Cik1p accessory factor, but not the homologous Vik1p. Kar3p and Kip3p were also found to overlap for a function essential for the structural integrity of the bipolar spindle. The cytoplasmic and nuclear roles of both these motors could be partially substituted for by the microtubule-destabilizing agent benomyl, suggesting that these motors perform an essential microtubule-destabilizing function. In addition, we found that yeast cell viability could be supported by as few as two microtubule-based motors: the BimC-type kinesin Cin8p, required for spindle structure, paired with either Kar3p or Kip3p, required for both spindle structure and positioning.
kinesin; dynein; motor proteins; microtubules; mitotic spindle
Kinesins from the bipolar (Kinesin-5) family are conserved in eukaryotic organisms and play critical roles during the earliest stages of mitosis to mediate spindle pole body separation and formation of a bipolar mitotic spindle. To date, genes encoding bipolar kinesins have been reported to be essential in all organisms studied. We report the characterization of CaKip1p, the sole member of this family in the human pathogenic yeast Candida albicans. C. albicans Kip1p appears to localize to the mitotic spindle and loss of CaKip1p function interferes with normal progression through mitosis. Inducible excision of CaKIP1 revealed phenotypes unique to C. albicans, including viable homozygous Cakip1 mutants and an aberrant spindle morphology in which multiple spindle poles accumulate in close proximity to each other. Expression of the C. albicans Kip1 motor domain in Escherichia coli produced a protein with microtubule-stimulated ATPase activity that was inhibited by an aminobenzothiazole (ABT) compound in an ATP-competitive fashion. This inhibition results in ‘rigor-like’, tight association with microtubules in vitro. Upon treatment of C. albicans cells with the ABT compound, cells were killed, and terminal phenotype analysis revealed an aberrant spindle morphology similar to that induced by loss of the CaKIP1 gene. The ABT compound discovered is the first example of a fungal spindle inhibitor targeted to a mitotic kinesin. Our results also show that the non-essential nature and implementation of the bipolar motor in C. albicans differs from that seen in other organisms, and suggest that inhibitors of a non-essential mitotic kinesin may offer promise as cidal agents for antifungal drug discovery.
Molecular motors play critical roles in the formation of mitotic spindles, either through controlling the stability of individual microtubules, or by cross-linking and sliding microtubule arrays. Kinesin-8 motors are best known for their regulatory roles in controlling microtubule dynamics. They contain microtubule-destabilizing activities, and restrict spindle length in a wide variety of cell types and organisms. Here, we report for the first time on an anti-parallel microtubule-sliding activity of the budding yeast kinesin-8, Kip3. The in vivo importance of this sliding activity was established through the identification of complementary Kip3 mutants that separate the sliding activity and microtubule destabilizing activity. In conjunction with kinesin-5/Cin8, the sliding activity of Kip3 promotes bipolar spindle assembly and the maintenance of genome stability. We propose a “slide-disassemble” model where Kip3’s sliding and destabilizing activity balance during pre-anaphase. This facilitates normal spindle assembly. However, Kip3’s destabilizing activity dominates in late anaphase, inhibiting spindle elongation and ultimately promoting spindle disassembly.
Chromosome passenger complexes and bipolar kinesins act together to coordinate spindle elongation, spindle breakdown, and mitotic exit.
During mitosis, chromosome passenger complexes (CPCs) exhibit a well-conserved association with the anaphase spindle and have been implicated in spindle stability. However, their precise effect on the spindle is not clear. In this paper, we show, in budding yeast, that a CPC consisting of CBF3, Bir1, and Sli15, but not Ipl1, is required for normal spindle elongation. CPC mutants slow spindle elongation through the action of the bipolar kinesins Cin8 and Kip1. The same CPC mutants that slow spindle elongation also result in the enrichment of Cin8 and Kip1 at the spindle midzone. Together, these findings argue that CPCs function to organize the spindle midzone and potentially switch motors between force generators and molecular brakes. We also find that slowing spindle elongation delays the mitotic exit network (MEN)–dependent release of Cdc14, thus delaying spindle breakdown until a minimal spindle size is reached. We propose that these CPC- and MEN-dependent mechanisms are important for coordinating chromosome segregation with spindle breakdown and mitotic exit.
Although it has been known for many years that B-cyclin/CDK complexes regulate the assembly of the mitotic spindle and entry into mitosis, the full complement of relevant CDK targets has not been identified. It has previously been shown in a variety of model systems that B-type cyclin/CDK complexes, kinesin-5 motors, and the SCFCdc4 ubiquitin ligase are required for the separation of spindle poles and assembly of a bipolar spindle. It has been suggested that, in budding yeast, B-type cyclin/CDK (Clb/Cdc28) complexes promote spindle pole separation by inhibiting the degradation of the kinesins-5 Kip1 and Cin8 by the anaphase-promoting complex (APCCdh1). We have determined, however, that the Kip1 and Cin8 proteins are present at wild-type levels in the absence of Clb/Cdc28 kinase activity. Here, we show that Kip1 and Cin8 are in vitro targets of Clb2/Cdc28 and that the mutation of conserved CDK phosphorylation sites on Kip1 inhibits spindle pole separation without affecting the protein's in vivo localization or abundance. Mass spectrometry analysis confirms that two CDK sites in the tail domain of Kip1 are phosphorylated in vivo. In addition, we have determined that Sic1, a Clb/Cdc28-specific inhibitor, is the SCFCdc4 target that inhibits spindle pole separation in cells lacking functional Cdc4. Based on these findings, we propose that Clb/Cdc28 drives spindle pole separation by direct phosphorylation of kinesin-5 motors.
The assembly of a bipolar mitotic spindle is essential for the accurate segregation of sister chromatids during mitosis and, hence, for successful cell division. Spindle assembly depends on the successful duplication of the spindle poles, followed by their separation to opposing ends of the cell. Although it has been known for many years that B-cyclin/CDK complexes regulate the assembly of the mitotic spindle, the relevant CDK targets have not been identified. Motor proteins of the kinesin-5 family generate movement on the microtubules that make up the spindle and are believed to power spindle pole separation. By employing the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model, we have found evidence that cyclin/CDKs control spindle assembly by phosphorylating the kinesins-5 Kip1 and Cin8. When phosphorylation at a conserved CDK site in the motor domain of Kip1 is blocked, spindle pole separation is greatly diminished but neither protein abundance nor localization is affected. We have also obtained direct evidence by mass spectrometry that Kip1 and Cin8 are phosphorylated in vivo at consensus CDK sites in their tail domains. Our findings suggest that B-cyclin/CDKs regulate spindle assembly by regulating kinesin-5 motor activity.
Separation of duplicated centrosomes (spindle-pole bodies or SPBs in yeast) is a crucial step in the biogenesis of the mitotic spindle. In vertebrates, centrosome separation requires the BimC family kinesin Eg5 and the activities of Cdk1 and polo kinase; however, the roles of these kinases are not fully understood. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, SPB separation also requires activated Cdk1 and the plus-end kinesins Cin8 (homologous to vertebrate Eg5) and Kip1. Here we report that polo kinase has a role in the separation of SPBs. We show that adequate accumulation of Cin8 and Kip1 requires inactivation of the anaphase-promoting complex-activator Cdh1 through sequential phosphorylation by Cdk1 and polo kinase. In this process, Cdk1 functions as a priming kinase in that Cdk1-mediated phosphorylation creates a binding site for polo kinase, which further phosphorylates Cdh1. Thus, Cdh1 inactivation through the synergistic action of Cdk1 and polo kinase provides a new model for inactivation of cell-cycle effectors.
During mitosis, sister chromatids congress to the spindle equator and are subsequently segregated via attachment to dynamic kinetochore microtubule (kMT) plus-ends. A major question is how kMT plus-end assembly is spatially regulated to achieve chromosome congression. Here we find in budding yeast that the widely-conserved kinesin-5 sliding motor proteins, Cin8p and Kip1p, mediate chromosome congression by suppressing kMT plus-end assembly of longer kMTs. Of the two, Cin8p is the major effector and its activity requires a functional motor domain. In contrast, the depolymerizing kinesin-8 motor Kip3p plays a minor role in spatial regulation of yeast kMT assembly. Our analysis identified a model where kinesin-5 motors bind to kMTs, move to kMT plus ends, and upon arrival at a growing plus-end promote net kMT plus-end disassembly. In conclusion, we find that length-dependent control of net kMT assembly by kinesin-5 motors yields a simple and stable self-organizing mechanism for chromosome congression.
During anaphase, mitotic spindles elongate up to five times their metaphase length. This process, known as anaphase B, is essential for correct segregation of chromosomes. Here, we examine the control of spindle length during anaphase in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We show that microtubule stabilization during anaphase requires the microtubule-associated protein Stu2. We further show that the activity of Stu2 is opposed by the activity of the kinesin-related protein Kip3. Reexamination of the kinesin homology tree suggests that KIP3 is the S. cerevisiae orthologue of the microtubule-destabilizing subfamily of kinesins (Kin I). We conclude that a balance of activity between evolutionally conserved microtubule-stabilizing and microtubule-destabilizing factors is essential for correct spindle elongation during anaphase B.
stu2; checkpoint; yeast; spindle; anaphase
In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, chromosome congression clusters kinetochores on either side of the spindle equator at metaphase. Many organisms require one or more kinesin-8 molecular motors to achieve chromosome alignment. The yeast kinesin-8, Kip3, has been well studied in vitro but a role in chromosome congression has not been reported. We investigated Kip3's role in this process using semi-automated, quantitative fluorescence microscopy and time-lapse imaging and found that Kip3 is required for congression. Deletion of KIP3 increases inter-kinetochore distances and increases the variability in the position of sister kinetochores along the spindle axis during metaphase. Kip3 does not regulate spindle length and is not required for kinetochore-microtubule attachment. Instead, Kip3 clusters kinetochores on the metaphase spindle by tightly regulating kinetochore microtubule lengths.
Cin8; cluster; GFP-tubulin; kinesin-5; kinesin-8; kinetochore; Kip3; metaphase; microtubule; mitosis; spindle
In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, chromosome congression clusters kinetochores on either side of the spindle equator at metaphase. Many organisms require one or more kinesin-8 molecular motors to achieve chromosome alignment. the yeast kinesin-8, Kip3, has been well studied in vitro but a role in chromosome congression has not been reported. We investigated Kip3's role in this process using semi-automated, quantitative fluorescence microscopy and time-lapse imaging and found that Kip3 is required for congression. Deletion of KIP3 increases inter-kinetochore distances and increases the variability in the position of sister kinetochores along the spindle axis during metaphase. Kip3 does not regulate spindle length and is not required for kinetochore-microtubule attachment. Instead, Kip3 clusters kinetochores on the metaphase spindle by tightly regulating kinetochore microtubule lengths.
Cin8; cluster; GFP-tubulin; kinesin-5; kinesin-8; kinetochore; Kip3; metaphase; microtubule; mitosis; spindle
The 2 micron plasmid of Saccharomyces cerevisiae uses the Kip1 motor, but not the functionally redundant Cin8 motor, for its precise nuclear localization and equal segregation. The timing and lifetime of Kip1p association with the plasmid partitioning locus STB are consistent with Kip1p being an authentic component of the plasmid partitioning complex. Kip1–STB association is not blocked by disassembling the mitotic spindle. Lack of Kip1p disrupts recruitment of the cohesin complex at STB and cohesion of replicated plasmid molecules. Colocalization of a 2 micron reporter plasmid with Kip1p in close proximity to the spindle pole body is reminiscent of that of a CEN reporter plasmid. Absence of Kip1p displaces the plasmid from this nuclear address, where it has the potential to tether to a chromosome or poach chromosome segregation factors. Exploiting Kip1p, which is subsidiary to Cin8p for chromosome segregation, to direct itself to a “partitioning center” represents yet another facet of the benign parasitism of the yeast plasmid.
Incomplete spindle disassembly causes lethality in budding yeast. We propose that spindle disassembly is required to reinitiate the spindle cycle during the subsequent mitosis by regenerating the nuclear pool of assembly-competent tubulin.
Incomplete mitotic spindle disassembly causes lethality in budding yeast. To determine why spindle disassembly is required for cell viability, we used live-cell microscopy to analyze a double mutant strain containing a conditional mutant and a deletion mutant compromised for the kinesin-8 and anaphase-promoting complex-driven spindle-disassembly pathways (td-kip3 and doc1Δ, respectively). Under nonpermissive conditions, spindles in td-kip3 doc1Δ cells could break apart but could not disassemble completely. These cells could exit mitosis and undergo cell division. However, the daughter cells could not assemble functional, bipolar spindles in the ensuing mitosis. During the formation of these dysfunctional spindles, centrosome duplication and separation, as well as recruitment of key midzone-stabilizing proteins all appeared normal, but microtubule polymerization was nevertheless impaired and these spindles often collapsed. Introduction of free tubulin through episomal expression of α- and β-tubulin or introduction of a brief pulse of the microtubule-depolymerizing drug nocodazole allowed spindle assembly in these td-kip3 doc1Δ mutants. Therefore we propose that spindle disassembly is essential for regeneration of the intracellular pool of assembly-competent tubulin required for efficient spindle assembly during subsequent mitoses of daughter cells.
The kinesin-8 family of microtubule motors plays a critical role in microtubule length control in cells. These motors have complex effects on microtubule dynamics: they destabilize growing microtubules yet stabilize shrinking microtubules. The budding yeast kinesin-8, Kip3, accumulates on plus ends of growing but not shrinking microtubules. Here we identify an essential role of the tail domain of Kip3 in mediating both its destabilizing and stabilizing activities. The Kip3-tail promotes Kip’s accumulation at the plus ends and facilitates the destabilizing effect of Kip3. However, the Kip3-tail also inhibits microtubule shrinkage and is required for promoting microtubule rescue by Kip3. These effects of the tail domain are likely to be mediated by the tubulin- and microtubule-binding activities that we describe. We propose a concentration-dependent model for the coordination of the destabilizing and stabilizing activities of Kip3 and discuss its relevance to cellular microtubule organization.
Alignment of the mitotic spindle with the axis of cell division is an essential process in Saccharomyces cerevisiae that is mediated by interactions between cytoplasmic microtubules and the cell cortex. We found that a cortical protein, the yeast formin Bni1p, was required for spindle orientation. Two striking abnormalities were observed in bni1Δ cells. First, the initial movement of the spindle pole body (SPB) toward the emerging bud was defective. This phenotype is similar to that previously observed in cells lacking the kinesin Kip3p and, in fact, BNI1 and KIP3 were found to be in the same genetic pathway. Second, abnormal pulling interactions between microtubules and the cortex appeared to cause preanaphase spindles in bni1Δ cells to transit back and forth between the mother and the bud. We therefore propose that Bni1p may localize or alter the function of cortical microtubule-binding sites in the bud. Additionally, we present evidence that other bipolar bud site determinants together with cortical actin are also required for spindle orientation.
mitotic spindle apparatus; cell division; microtubule; actin; Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Proper positioning of the mitotic spindle is often essential for cell division and differentiation processes. The asymmetric cell division characteristic of budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, requires that the spindle be positioned at the mother–bud neck and oriented along the mother–bud axis. The single dynein motor encoded by the S. cerevisiae genome performs an important but nonessential spindle-positioning role. We demonstrate that kinesin-related Kip3p makes a major contribution to spindle positioning in the absence of dynein. The elimination of Kip3p function in dyn1Δ cells severely compromised spindle movement to the mother–bud neck. In dyn1Δ cells that had completed positioning, elimination of Kip3p function caused spindles to mislocalize to distal positions in mother cell bodies. We also demonstrate that the spindle-positioning defects exhibited by dyn1 kip3 cells are caused, to a large extent, by the actions of kinesin- related Kip2p. Microtubules in kip2Δ cells were shorter and more sensitive to benomyl than wild-type, in contrast to the longer and benomyl-resistant microtubules found in dyn1Δ and kip3Δ cells. Most significantly, the deletion of KIP2 greatly suppressed the spindle localization defect and slow growth exhibited by dyn1 kip3 cells. Likewise, induced expression of KIP2 caused spindles to mislocalize in cells deficient for dynein and Kip3p. Our findings indicate that Kip2p participates in normal spindle positioning but antagonizes a positioning mechanism acting in dyn1 kip3 cells. The observation that deletion of KIP2 could also suppress the inviability of dyn1Δ kar3Δ cells suggests that kinesin-related Kar3p also contributes to spindle positioning.
We have used anti-peptide antibodies raised against highly conserved regions of the kinesin motor domain to identify kinesin-related proteins in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Here we report the identification of a new kinesin-related protein, which we have named pkl1. Sequence homology and domain organization place pkl1 in the Kar3/ncd subfamily of kinesin-related proteins. Bacterially expressed pkl1 fusion proteins display microtubule-stimulated ATPase activity, nucleotide-sensitive binding, and bundling of microtubules. Immunofluorescence studies with affinity-purified antibodies indicate that the pkl1 protein localizes to the nucleus and the mitotic spindle. Pkl1 null mutants are viable but have increased sensitivity to microtubule-disrupting drugs. Disruption of pkl1+ suppresses mutations in another kinesin-related protein, cut7, which is known to act in the spindle. Overexpression of pkl1 to very high levels causes a similar phenotype to that seen in cut7 mutants: V-shaped and star-shaped microtubule structures are observed, which we interpret to be spindles with unseparated spindle poles. These observations suggest that pkl1 and cut7 provide opposing forces in the spindle. We propose that pkl1 functions as a microtubule-dependent motor that is involved in microtubule organization in the mitotic spindle.