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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Jun 23;95(13):7526-31.

Fission yeast orb6, a ser/thr protein kinase related to mammalian rho kinase and myotonic dystrophy kinase, is required for maintenance of cell polarity and coordinates cell morphogenesis with the cell cycle.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Miami School of Medicine, P.O. Box 016129, Miami, FL, 33101-6129, USA.


The molecular mechanisms that coordinate cell morphogenesis with the cell cycle remain largely unknown. We have investigated this process in fission yeast where changes in polarized cell growth are coupled with cell cycle progression. The orb6 gene is required during interphase to maintain cell polarity and encodes a serine/threonine protein kinase, belonging to the myotonic dystrophy kinase/cot1/warts family. A decrease in Orb6 protein levels leads to loss of polarized cell shape and to mitotic advance, whereas an increase in Orb6 levels maintains polarized growth and delays mitosis by affecting the p34(cdc2) mitotic kinase. Thus the Orb6 protein kinase coordinates maintenance of cell polarity during interphase with the onset of mitosis. orb6 interacts genetically with orb2, which encodes the Pak1/Shk1 protein kinase, a component of the Ras1 and Cdc42-dependent signaling pathway. Our results suggest that Orb6 may act downstream of Pak1/Shk1, forming part of a pathway coordinating cell morphogenesis with progression through the cell cycle.

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