Background: The signal for the onset of septum formation in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe is transduced by the septation initiation network (SIN). Many of the components of the SIN are located on the spindle pole body during mitosis, from where it is presumed that the signal for septum formation is delivered. Cdc11 mutants are defective in SIN signaling, but the role of cdc11 in the pathway has remained enigmatic.
Results: We have cloned the cdc11 gene by a combination of chromosome walking and transfection of cosmids into a cdc11 mutant. Cdc11p most closely resembles Saccharomyces cerevisiae Nud1p and is essential for septum formation. Cdc11p is a phosphoprotein, which becomes hyperphosphorylated during anaphase. It localizes to the spindle pole body at all stages of the cell cycle, in a sid4p-dependent manner, and cdc11p is required for the localization of all the known SIN components, except sid4p, to the SPB. Cdc11p and sid4p can be coimmunoprecipitated from cell extracts. Finally, like its S. cerevisiae ortholog Nud1p, cdc11p is involved in the proper organization of astral microtubules during mitosis.
Conclusions: We propose that cdc11p acts as a bridge between sid4p and the other SIN proteins, mediating their association with the spindle pole body.