Regulation of actin assembly by microtubules in fission yeast cell polarity

Novartis Found Symp. 2005;269:59-66; discussion 66-72, 223-30.


It has been speculated that microtubule plus ends function to regulate the actin cytoskeleton in processes such as cytokinesis, cell polarization and cell migration. In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, interphase microtubules regulate cell polarity through proteins such as tea1p, a kelch repeat protein, and for3p, a formin that nucleates actin cable assembly at cell tips. Here, we review recent progress on understanding tea1p regulation and function. Microtubules may govern the localization of tea1p by transporting it on the plus ends of microtubules and depositing it directly onto the cell tip when the microtubule catastrophes. The interaction of tea1p with the CLIP170 protein tip1p is responsible for its localization at growing microtubule plus ends. Tea1p may regulate cell polarity by associating with large 'polarisome' complexes that include for3p. For3p is present at both cell tips, but is not on the microtubules. Tea1p is needed to localize the formin to establish polarized cell growth at cell tips that have not grown previously. These studies begin to elucidate a molecular pathway for how microtubules contribute to the proper spatial regulation of actin assembly and polarized cell growth.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / chemistry*
  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Polarity / physiology*
  • Formins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Schizosaccharomyces / cytology*
  • Schizosaccharomyces / metabolism*
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • FOR3 protein, S pombe
  • Formins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins
  • Tea1 protein, S pombe