Phosphorylation of the chromosomal passenger protein Bir1 is required for localization of Ndc10 to the spindle during anaphase and full spindle elongation.
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) repeat protein Bir1 localizes as a chromosomal passenger. A deletion analysis of Bir1 identified two regions important for function. The C-terminal region is essential for growth, binds Sli15, and is necessary and sufficient for the localization of Bir1 as a chromosomal passenger. The middle region is not essential but is required to localize the inner kinetochore protein Ndc10 to the spindle during anaphase and to the midzone at telophase. In contrast, precise deletion of the highly conserved IAP repeats conferred no phenotype and did not alter the cell cycle delay caused by loss of cohesin. Bir1 is phosphorylated in a cell cycle-dependent manner. Mutation of all nine CDK consensus sites in the middle region of Bir1 significantly decreased the level of phosphorylation and blocked localization of Ndc10 to the spindle at anaphase. Moreover, immunoprecipitation of Ndc10 with Bir1 was dependent on phosphorylation. The loss of Ndc10 from the anaphase spindle prevented elongation of the spindle beyond 7 microm. We conclude that phosphorylation of the middle region of Bir1 is required to bring Ndc10 to the spindle at anaphase, which is required for full spindle elongation.