The molecular mechanisms that temporally and spatially coordinate cell morphogenesis with the cell cycle remain poorly understood. Here we describe the characterization of fission yeast Mob2p, a novel protein required for regulating cell polarity and cell cycle control. Deletion of mob2 is lethal and causes cells to become spherical, with depolarized actin and microtubule cytoskeletons. A decrease in Mob2p protein level results in a defect in the activation of bipolar growth. This phenotype is identical to that of mutants defective in the orb6 protein kinase gene, and we find that Mob2p physically interacts with Orb6p. In addition, overexpression of Mob2p, like that of Orb6p, results in a delay in the onset of mitosis. Mob2p localizes to the cell periphery and cytoplasm throughout the cell cycle and to the division site during late anaphase and telophase. Mob2p is unable to localize to the cell middle in mutants defective in actomyosin ring and septum formation. Our results suggest that Mob2p, along with Orb6p, is required for coordinating polarized cell growth during interphase with the onset of mitosis.
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