Septins are conserved filament-forming proteins that act in diverse cellular processes. They closely associate with membranes and, in some systems, components of the cytoskeleton. It is not well understood how filaments assemble into higher-order structures in vivo or how they are remodeled throughout the cell cycle. In the budding yeast S. cerevisiae, septins are found through most of the cell cycle in an hourglass organization at the mother-bud neck until cytokinesis when the collar splits into two rings that disassemble prior to the next cell cycle. Experiments using polarized fluorescence microscopy have suggested that septins are arranged in ordered, paired filaments in the hourglass and undergo a coordinated 90° reorientation during splitting at cytokinesis. This apparent reorganization could be due to two orthogonal populations of filaments disassembling and reassembling or being preferentially retained at cytokinesis. In support of this idea, we report a decrease in septin concentration at the mother-bud neck during cytokinesis consistent with other reports and the timing of the decrease depends on known septin regulators including the Gin4 kinase. We took a candidate-based approach to examine what factors control reorientation during splitting and used polarized fluorescence microscopy to screen mutant yeast strains deficient in septin interacting proteins. Using this method, we have linked known septin regulators to different aspects of the assembly, stability, and reorganization of septin assemblies. The data support that ring splitting requires Gin4 activity and an anillin-like protein Bud4, and normal accumulation of septins at the ring requires phosphorylation of Shs1. We found distinct regulatory requirements for septin organization in the hourglass compared to split rings. We propose that septin subpopulations can vary in their localization and assembly/disassembly behavior in a cell-cycle dependent manner at cytokinesis.
Keywords: Shs1; cytokinesis; polarized light microscopy; septins.