Background: The centromere is the chromosome domain on which the mitotic kinetochore forms for proper segregation. Deposition of the centromeric histone H3 (CenH3, CENP-A) is vital for the formation of centromere-specific chromatin. The Mis6-Mal2-Sim4 complex of the fission yeast S. pombe is required for the recruitment of CenH3 (Cnp1), but its function remains obscure.
Methodology/principal findings: Mass spectrometry was performed on the proteins precipitated with Mis6- and Mis17-FLAG. The results together with the previously identified Sim4- and Mal2-TAP precipitated proteins indicated that the complex contains 12 subunits, Mis6, Sim4, Mal2, Mis15, Mis17, Cnl2, Fta1-4, Fta6-7, nine of which have human centromeric protein (CENP) counterparts. Domain dissection indicated that the carboxy-half of Mis17 is functional, while its amino-half is regulatory. Overproduction of the amino-half caused strong negative dominance, which led to massive chromosome missegregation and hypersensitivity to the histone deacetylase inhibitor TSA. Mis17 was hyperphosphorylated and overproduction-induced negative dominance was abolished in six kinase-deletion mutants, ssp2 (AMPK), ppk9 (AMPK), ppk15 (Yak1), ppk30 (Ark1), wis4 (Ssk2), and lsk1 (P-TEFb).
Conclusions: Mis17 may be a regulatory module of the Mis6 complex. Negative dominance of the Mis17 fragment is exerted while the complex and CenH3 remain at the centromere, a result that differs from the mislocalization seen in the mis17-362 mutant. The known functions of the kinases suggest an unexpected link between Mis17 and control of the cortex actin, nutrition, and signal/transcription. Possible interpretations are discussed.