Assembly of SAS-6 dimers to form the centriolar cartwheel requires the ZYG-1/Plk4 kinase. Here, we show that ZYG-1 recruits SAS-6 to the mother centriole independently of its kinase activity; kinase activity is subsequently required for cartwheel assembly. We identify a direct interaction between ZYG-1 and the SAS-6 coiled coil that explains its kinase activity-independent function in SAS-6 recruitment. Perturbing this interaction, or the interaction between an adjacent segment of the SAS-6 coiled coil and SAS-5, prevented SAS-6 recruitment and cartwheel assembly. SAS-6 mutants with alanine substitutions in a previously described ZYG-1 target site or in 37 other residues, either phosphorylated by ZYG-1 in vitro or conserved in closely related nematodes, all supported cartwheel assembly. We propose that ZYG-1 binding to the SAS-6 coiled coil recruits the SAS-6-SAS-5 complex to the mother centriole, where a ZYG-1 kinase activity-dependent step, whose target is unlikely to be SAS-6, triggers cartwheel assembly.
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