Accurate chromosome segregation relies on the bipolar mitotic spindle. In many eukaryotes, spindle formation is driven by the plus-end-directed motor kinesin-5 that generates outward force to establish spindle bipolarity. Its inhibition leads to the emergence of monopolar spindles with mitotic arrest. Intriguingly, simultaneous inactivation of the minus-end-directed motor kinesin-14 restores spindle bipolarity in many systems. Here we show that in fission yeast, three independent pathways contribute to spindle bipolarity in the absence of kinesin-5/Cut7 and kinesin-14/Pkl1. One is kinesin-6/Klp9 that engages with spindle elongation once short bipolar spindles assemble. Klp9 also ensures the medial positioning of anaphase spindles to prevent unequal chromosome segregation. Another is the Alp7/TACC-Alp14/TOG microtubule polymerase complex. Temperature-sensitive alp7cut7pkl1 mutants are arrested with either monopolar or very short spindles. Forced targeting of Alp14 to the spindle pole body is sufficient to render alp7cut7pkl1 triply deleted cells viable and promote spindle assembly, indicating that Alp14-mediated microtubule polymerization from the nuclear face of the spindle pole body could generate outward force in place of Cut7 during early mitosis. The third pathway involves the Ase1/PRC1 microtubule cross-linker that stabilizes antiparallel microtubules. Our study, therefore, unveils multifaceted interplay among kinesin-dependent and -independent pathways leading to mitotic bipolar spindle assembly.
© 2017 Yukawa et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).