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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54142. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054142. Epub 2013 Jan 17.

Fission yeast Nod1 is a component of cortical nodes involved in cell size control and division site placement.

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Cell Regulation Laboratory, London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK, London, United Kingdom.


Most cells enter mitosis once they have reached a defined size. In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, mitotic entry is orchestrated by a geometry-sensing mechanism that involves the Cdk1/Cdc2-inhibiting Wee1 kinase. The factors upstream of Wee1 gather together in interphase to form a characteristic medial and cortical belt of nodes. Nodes are also considered to be precursors of the cytokinesis contractile actomyosin ring (CAR). Here we describe a new component of the interphase nodes and cytokinesis rings, which we named Nod1. Consistent with its role in cell size control at division, nod1Δ cells were elongated and epistatic with regulators of Wee1. Through biochemical and localisation studies, we placed Nod1 in a complex with the Rho-guanine nucleotide exchange factor Gef2. Nod1 and Gef2 mutually recruited each other in nodes and Nod1 also assembles Gef2 in rings. Like gef2Δ, nod1Δ cells showed a mild displacement of their division plane and this phenotype was severely exacerbated when the parallel Polo kinase pathway was also compromised. We conclude that Nod1 specifies the division site by localising Gef2 to the mitotic cell middle. Previous work showed that Gef2 in turn anchors factors that control the spatio-temporal recruitment of the actin nucleation machinery. It is believed that the actin filaments originated from the nodes pull nodes together into a single contractile ring. Surprisingly however, we found that node proteins could form pre-ring helical filaments in a cdc12-112 mutant in which nucleation of the actin ring is impaired. Furthermore, the deletion of either nod1 or gef2 created an un-expected situation where different ring components were recruited sequentially rather than simultaneously. At later stages of cytokinesis, these various rings appeared inter-fitted rather than merged. This study brings a new slant to the understanding of CAR assembly and function.

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