Despite being essential for proper cell division, the mechanisms governing centrosome duplication are incompletely understood and represent an important open question in cell biology. Formation of a new centriole next to each existing one is critical for centrosome duplication. In Caenorhabditis elegans embryos, the proteins SPD-2, ZYG-1, SAS-6, SAS-5, and SAS-4 are essential for centriole formation, but the mechanisms underlying their requirement remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that the kinase ZYG-1 phosphorylates the coiled-coil protein SAS-6 at serine 123 in vitro. Importantly, we show that this phosphorylation event is crucial for centriole formation in vivo. Furthermore, we establish that such phosphorylation ensures the maintenance of SAS-6 at the emerging centriole. Overall, our findings establish that phosphorylation of the evolutionarily conserved protein SAS-6 is critical for centriole formation and thus for faithful cell division.
2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.