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Nature communications

Mto2 multisite phosphorylation inactivates non-spindle microtubule nucleation complexes during mitosis.


PMID 26243668

Abstract

Microtubule nucleation is highly regulated during the eukaryotic cell cycle, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are largely unknown. During mitosis in fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, cytoplasmic microtubule nucleation ceases simultaneously with intranuclear mitotic spindle assembly. Cytoplasmic nucleation depends on the Mto1/2 complex, which binds and activates the γ-tubulin complex and also recruits the γ-tubulin complex to both centrosomal (spindle pole body) and non-centrosomal sites. Here we show that the Mto1/2 complex disassembles during mitosis, coincident with hyperphosphorylation of Mto2 protein. By mapping and mutating multiple Mto2 phosphorylation sites, we generate mto2-phosphomutant strains with enhanced Mto1/2 complex stability, interaction with the γ-tubulin complex and microtubule nucleation activity. A mutant with 24 phosphorylation sites mutated to alanine, mto2[24A], retains interphase-like behaviour even in mitotic cells. This provides a molecular-level understanding of how phosphorylation 'switches off' microtubule nucleation complexes during the cell cycle and, more broadly, illuminates mechanisms regulating non-centrosomal microtubule nucleation.

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