High levels of the cold shock protein Y-box-binding protein-1, YB-1, are tightly correlated with increased cell proliferation and progression. However, the precise mechanism by which YB-1 regulates proliferation is unknown. Here, we found that YB-1 depletion in several cancer cell lines and in immortalized fibroblasts resulted in cytokinesis failure and consequent multinucleation. Rescue experiments indicated that YB-1 was required for completion of cytokinesis. Using confocal imaging we found that YB-1 was essential for orchestrating the spatio-temporal distribution of the microtubules, β-actin and the chromosome passenger complex (CPC) to define the cleavage plane. We show that phosphorylation at six serine residues was essential for cytokinesis, of which novel sites were identified using mass spectrometry. Using atomistic modelling we show how phosphorylation at multiple sites alters YB-1 conformation, allowing it to interact with protein partners. Our results establish phosphorylated YB-1 as a critical regulator of cytokinesis, defining precisely how YB-1 regulates cell division.
Keywords: YB-1; atomistic modelling; cold shock protein; confocal microscopy; cytokinesis; live-cell imaging; phosphorylation; post-translational modification.