Mitotic spindle formation in the absence of Polo kinase

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Mar 22;119(12):e2114429119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2114429119. Epub 2022 Mar 14.


SignificanceMitosis is an essential process in all eukaryotes, but paradoxically, genes required for mitosis vary among species. The essentiality of many mitotic genes was bypassed by activating alternative mechanisms during evolution. However, bypass events have rarely been recapitulated experimentally. Here, using the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, the essentiality of a kinase (Plo1) required for bipolar spindle formation was bypassed by other mutations, many of which are associated with glucose metabolism. The Plo1 bypass by the reduction in glucose uptake was dependent on another kinase (casein kinase I), which potentiated spindle microtubule formation. This study illustrates a rare experimental bypass of essentiality for mitotic genes and provides insights into the molecular diversity of mitosis.

Keywords: Polo-like kinase; Schizosaccharomyces pombe; experimental evolution; microtubule nucleation; mitotic spindle.

MeSH terms

  • Mitosis / genetics
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins* / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins* / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces* / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces* / metabolism
  • Spindle Apparatus / genetics
  • Spindle Apparatus / metabolism


  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins
  • Plo1 protein, S pombe
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases