Control of cell size requires molecular size sensors that are coupled to the cell cycle. Rod-shaped fission yeast cells divide at a threshold size partly due to Cdr2 kinase, which forms nodes at the medial cell cortex where it inhibits the Cdk1-inhibitor Wee1. Pom1 kinase phosphorylates and inhibits Cdr2, and forms cortical concentration gradients from cell poles. Pom1 inhibits Cdr2 signaling to Wee1 specifically in small cells, but the time and place of their regulatory interactions were unclear. We show that Pom1 forms stable oligomeric clusters that dynamically sample the cell cortex. Binding frequency is patterned into a concentration gradient by the polarity landmarks Tea1 and Tea4. Pom1 clusters colocalize with Cdr2 nodes, forming a glucose-modulated inhibitory threshold against node activation. Our work reveals how Pom1-Cdr2-Wee1 operates in multiprotein clusters at the cortex to promote mitotic entry at a cell size that can be modified by nutrient availability.
We have included all relevant data in the manuscript and supporting files.
- James B Moseley
- James B Moseley
- Corey A H Allard
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Mohan K Balasubramanian, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
© 2019, Allard et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
EB1 is a key cellular protein that delivers regulatory molecules throughout the cell via the tip-tracking of growing microtubule plus-ends. Thus, it is important to understand the mechanism for how EB1 efficiently tracks growing microtubule plus-ends. It is widely accepted that EB1 binds with higher affinity to GTP-tubulin subunits at the growing microtubule tip, relative to GDP-tubulin along the microtubule length. However, it is unclear whether this difference in affinity alone is sufficient to explain the tip-tracking of EB1 at growing microtubule tips. Previously, we found that EB1 binds to exposed microtubule protofilament-edge sites at a ~70 fold faster rate than to closed-lattice sites, due to diffusional steric hindrance to binding. Thus, we asked whether rapid protofilament-edge binding could contribute to efficient EB1 tip tracking. A computational simulation with differential EB1 on-rates based on closed-lattice or protofilament-edge binding, and with EB1 off-rates that were dependent on the tubulin hydrolysis state, robustly recapitulated experimental EB1 tip tracking. To test this model, we used cell-free biophysical assays, as well as live-cell imaging, in combination with a Designed Ankyrin Repeat Protein (DARPin) that binds exclusively to protofilament-edge sites, and whose binding site partially overlaps with the EB1 binding site. We found that DARPin blocked EB1 protofilament-edge binding, which led to a decrease in EB1 tip tracking on dynamic microtubules. We conclude that rapid EB1 binding to microtubule protofilament-edge sites contributes to robust EB1 tip tracking at the growing microtubule plus-end.
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