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EMBO J. 1995 Jul 17;14(14):3325-38.

A novel protein kinase gene ssp1+ is required for alteration of growth polarity and actin localization in fission yeast.

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Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Science, Kyoto University, Japan.


Temperature-sensitive suppressor mutants were isolated from two fission yeast mutants defective in cell shape control: ppe1, encoding a type 2A-like protein phosphatase, and sts5, one of 11 staurosporine-supersensitive mutants. Complementation tests showed that suppression was due to two chromosomal loci, ssp1 and ssp2. Cells of the ssp1 mutant grown at the restrictive temperature arrested uniformly with an elongated cell body and a 2C content of DNA. Interestingly, these mutant cells grew only in a monopolar manner. At a specific point in the G2 phase of the cell cycle, wild-type cells exhibit a drastic alteration in growth polarity, from mono- to bipolar. This change coincides with the distribution of cortical actin from one end of the cell to both ends. In the ssp1 mutant cells, cortical actin was localized only at one end, suggesting that the mutant fails to change growth polarity. Nucleotide sequence determination showed that ssp1+ encodes a novel protein kinase. Ectopic overexpression of ssp1+ resulted in an altered cell morphology and cortical actin was randomly dispersed within the cells. Immunocytological analysis revealed that the protein was primarily localized in the cytoplasm and that half of the protein existed in an insoluble fraction. These results show that the dynamics of actin-based growth polarity during the cell cycle are regulated, at least in part, by a novel set of protein kinases and phosphatases.

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