The Sid2p-Mob1p kinase complex is an important component of the septation initiation network (SIN) in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. However, regulation of this complex is still elusive. Here we show that Mob1p is required not only for the subcellular localization of Sid2p but also for its kinase activity. We identified a region at the amino terminus of Sid2p that is required for Mob1p binding and spindle pole body (SPB) localization. Deletion of this region abolishes Mob1p binding and diminishes SPB localization, whereas this region alone is sufficient to associate with Mob1p and SPBs. We further show that a similar region of the N terminus of the Sid2p-related protein kinase Orb6p binds to the Mob1p-related protein Mob2p, suggesting that this may be a conserved mode of interaction for this family of kinases. Phosphorylation of Ser402 and especially Thr578 is important for Sid2p function. Sid2p with a mutation of Thr578 to Ala (T578A) can no longer rescue sid2-250 mutant cells, and this results in reduction of Mob1p binding. Sid2p mutants mimicking phosphorylation at this site (T578D and T578E) can rescue sid2-250 cells, enhance Sid2p kinase activity, and partially rescue growth defects of upstream sin mutants. Interestingly, Sid2p, but not Mob1p, is self-associated. Our experiments suggest that self-associated Sid2p is inactive. This self-association is mediated by a region that overlaps with Mob1p and SPB binding sites. Overexpression of Mob1p is able to disrupt the self-association of Sid2p. Taken together, our results suggest that Sid2p kinase may utilize multiple modes of regulation including self-association, Mob1p binding, and phosphorylation to achieve its full activity at an appropriate time and place in the cell.
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