Entry into mitosis is triggered by cyclinB/Cdk1, whose activity is abruptly raised by a positive feedback loop. The Greatwall kinase phosphorylates proteins of the endosulfine family and allows them to bind and inhibit the main Cdk1-counteracting PP2A-B55 phosphatase, thereby promoting mitotic entry. In contrast to most eukaryotic systems, Cdc14 is the main Cdk1-antagonizing phosphatase in budding yeast, while the PP2ACdc55 phosphatase promotes, instead of preventing, mitotic entry by participating to the positive feedback loop of Cdk1 activation. Here we show that budding yeast endosulfines (Igo1 and Igo2) bind to PP2ACdc55 in a cell cycle-regulated manner upon Greatwall (Rim15)-dependent phosphorylation. Phosphorylated Igo1 inhibits PP2ACdc55 activity in vitro and induces mitotic entry in Xenopus egg extracts, indicating that it bears a conserved PP2A-binding and -inhibitory activity. Surprisingly, deletion of IGO1 and IGO2 in yeast cells leads to a decrease in PP2A phosphatase activity, suggesting that endosulfines act also as positive regulators of PP2A in yeast. Consistently, RIM15 and IGO1/2 promote, like PP2ACdc55, timely entry into mitosis under temperature-stress, owing to the accumulation of Tyr-phosphorylated Cdk1. In addition, they contribute to the nuclear export of PP2ACdc55, which has recently been proposed to promote mitotic entry. Altogether, our data indicate that Igo proteins participate in the positive feedback loop for Cdk1 activation. We conclude that Greatwall, endosulfines, and PP2A are part of a regulatory module that has been conserved during evolution irrespective of PP2A function in the control of mitosis. However, this conserved module is adapted to account for differences in the regulation of mitotic entry in different organisms.
In all eukaryotic cells chromosome partition during mitosis requires a number of processes, including the formation of the mitotic spindle, i.e. the machinery that drives chromosome segregation to the daughter cells. Mitotic entry requires a delicate balance between protein phosphorylation, driven by cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), and protein dephosphorylation, carried out by specific phosphatases that counteract CDK activity. A critical threshold in CDK activity is indeed required for mitotic entry. In the past few years the Greatwall kinase has also been implicated in mitotic entry through phosphorylation of proteins of the endosulfine family, which in turn inhibit the activity of the PP2A phosphatase that would otherwise dephosphorylate CDK targets. Whether Greatwall and endosulfines have a mitotic function in budding yeast, where PP2A promotes, rather than inhibits, mitotic entry has not been established. Here we show that the Greatwall-endosulfine-PP2A regulatory module is conserved also in budding yeast and that endosulfines from different species are interchangeable for their mitotic function. However, in budding yeast cells endosulfines contribute to full activation and proper localization of PP2A, suggesting that they act as both inhibitors and activators of PP2A. Our data emphasize how the same regulatory module is adapted to meet specific mitotic features in different organisms.