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Cell Cycle. 2009 Jan 15;8(2):195-203.

Reuse, replace, recycle. Specificity in subunit inheritance and assembly of higher-order septin structures during mitotic and meiotic division in budding yeast.

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Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California; Berkeley, California 94720-3202, USA.


Septins are guanine nucleotide-binding proteins that form hetero-oligomeric complexes, which assemble into filaments and higher-order structures at sites of cell division and morphogenesis in eukaryotes. Dynamic changes in the organization of septin-containing structures occur concomitantly with progression through the mitotic cell cycle and during cell differentiation. Septins also undergo stage-specific post-translational modifications, which have been implicated in regulating their dynamics, in some cases via purported effects on septin turnover. In our recent study, the fate of two of the five septins expressed in mitotic cells of budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) was tracked using two complementary fluorescence-based methods for pulse-chase analysis. During mitotic growth, previously-made molecules of both septins (Cdc10 and Cdc12) persisted through multiple successive divisions and were incorporated equivalently with newly synthesized molecules into hetero-oligomers and higher-order structures. Similarly, in cells undergoing meiosis and the developmental program of sporulation, pre-existing copies of Cdc10 were incorporated into new structures. In marked contrast, Cdc12 was irreversibly excluded from septin complexes and replaced by another septin, Spr3. Here, we discuss the broader implications of these results and related findings with regard to how septin dynamics is coordinated with the mitotic cell cycle and in the yeast life cycle, and how these observations may relate to control of the dynamics of other complex multi-subunit assemblies.

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