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PLoS Genet. 2014 Sep 25;10(9):e1004586. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004586. eCollection 2014 Sep.

The Vip1 inositol polyphosphate kinase family regulates polarized growth and modulates the microtubule cytoskeleton in fungi.

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Lehrstuhl für funktionelle Genomforschung der Mikroorganismen, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) - South Campus, Institute for Applied Biosciences, Dept. of Microbiology, Karlsruhe, Germany.
Institut für Mikrobiologie, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) - South Campus, Institute for Applied Biosciences, Dept. of Microbiology, Karlsruhe, Germany; University of Tsukuba, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, Ibaraki, Tsukuba, Japan.


Microtubules (MTs) are pivotal for numerous eukaryotic processes ranging from cellular morphogenesis, chromosome segregation to intracellular transport. Execution of these tasks requires intricate regulation of MT dynamics. Here, we identify a new regulator of the Schizosaccharomyces pombe MT cytoskeleton: Asp1, a member of the highly conserved Vip1 inositol polyphosphate kinase family. Inositol pyrophosphates generated by Asp1 modulate MT dynamic parameters independent of the central +TIP EB1 and in a dose-dependent and cellular-context-dependent manner. Importantly, our analysis of the in vitro kinase activities of various S. pombe Asp1 variants demonstrated that the C-terminal phosphatase-like domain of the dual domain Vip1 protein negatively affects the inositol pyrophosphate output of the N-terminal kinase domain. These data suggest that the former domain has phosphatase activity. Remarkably, Vip1 regulation of the MT cytoskeleton is a conserved feature, as Vip1-like proteins of the filamentous ascomycete Aspergillus nidulans and the distantly related pathogenic basidiomycete Ustilago maydis also affect the MT cytoskeleton in these organisms. Consistent with the role of interphase MTs in growth zone selection/maintenance, all 3 fungal systems show aspects of aberrant cell morphogenesis. Thus, for the first time we have identified a conserved biological process for inositol pyrophosphates.

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