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J Biol Chem. 2003 Jul 4;278(27):25256-63. Epub 2003 Mar 19.

Control of cell polarity in fission yeast by association of Orb6p kinase with the highly conserved protein methyltransferase Skb1p.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida 33101-6129, USA.


In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, proper establishment and maintenance of cell polarity require Orb6p, a highly conserved serine/threonine kinase involved in regulating both cell morphogenesis and cell cycle control. Orb6p localizes to the cell tips during interphase and to the cell septum during mitosis. To investigate the mechanisms involved in Orb6p function, we conducted a two-hybrid screen to identify proteins that interact with Orb6p. Using this approach, we identified Skb1p, a highly conserved protein methyltransferase that has been implicated previously in cell cycle control, in the coordination of cell cycle progression with morphological changes, and in hyperosmotic stress response. We found that Skb1p associates with Orb6p in S. pombe cells and that the two proteins interact directly in vitro. Loss of Skb1p exacerbates the phenotype of orb6 mutants, suggesting that Skb1p and Orb6p functionally interact in S. pombe cells. Our results suggest that Skb1p affects the intracellular localization of Orb6p and that loss of Skb1p leads to a redistribution of the Orb6p kinase away from the cell tips. Furthermore, we found that Orb6p kinase activity is strongly increased following exposure to salt shock, suggesting that Orb6p has a role in cell response to hyperosmotic stress. Previous studies have shown that Skb1p interacts with the fission yeast p21-activated kinase homologue Pak1p/Shk1p to regulate cell polarity and cell cycle progression. Our findings identify Orb6p as an additional target for Skb1p and suggest a novel function for Skb1p in the control of cell polarity by regulating the subcellular localization of Orb6p.

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