Cortical capture of microtubules and spindle polarity in budding yeast - where's the catch?

J Cell Sci. 2005 Feb 1;118(Pt 3):463-71. doi: 10.1242/jcs.01650.


In asymmetric divisions, the mitotic spindle must align according to the cell polarity axis. This is achieved through targeting astral microtubules emanating from each spindle pole to opposite cell cortex compartments. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a powerful genetic model for dissection of this complex process. Intense research in this yeast has rendered detailed models for a program linking actin organization and spindle orientation along the mother-bud axis. This program requires the separate contributions of Kar9p, a protein guiding microtubules along polarized actin cables, and the polarity determinant Bud6p/Aip3 that marks sites for cortical capture at the bud tip and bud neck. In an added layer of complexity, cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) differentially regulates spindle pole function to dictate asymmetric spindle pole fate. Asymmetric contacts established by the spindle poles impart a further layer of extrinsic asymmetry restricting recruitment of Kar9p to the pole destined for the daughter cell. As a result, astral microtubules from a single pole are guided to the bud compartment after spindle assembly. Finally, Cdk might also translocate along astral microtubules in association with Kar9p to modulate microtubule-cortex interactions following spindle alignment. Insertion of the mitotic spindle into the bud neck is driven by the microtubule motor dynein. This process relies on the combined action of microtubule-plus-end-tracking proteins and kinesins that control the cell-cycle-dependent abundance of dynein at microtubule plus ends. Thus, this actin-independent pathway for spindle orientation might also be influenced by Cdk.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / physiology
  • Dyneins / physiology
  • Microfilament Proteins / physiology
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / physiology
  • Microtubules / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / physiology
  • Schizosaccharomyces / physiology
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins
  • Spindle Apparatus / physiology*


  • Actins
  • BUD6 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Bud6 protein, S pombe
  • KAR9 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases
  • Dyneins