Microtubule plus-end tracking proteins (+TIPs) are a diverse group of molecules that regulate microtubule dynamics and interactions of microtubules with other cellular structures. Many +TIPs have affinity for each other but the functional significance of these associations is unclear. Here we investigate the physical and functional interactions among three +TIPs in S. cerevisiae, Stu2, Bik1, and Bim1. Two-hybrid, coimmunoprecipitation, and in vitro binding assays demonstrate that they associate in all pairwise combinations, although the interaction between Stu2 and Bim1 may be indirect. Three-hybrid assays indicate that these proteins compete for binding to each other. Thus, Stu2, Bik1, and Bim1 interact physically but do not appear to be arranged in a single unique complex. We examined the functional interactions among pairs of proteins by comparing cytoplasmic and spindle microtubule dynamics in cells lacking either one or both proteins. On cytoplasmic microtubules, Stu2 and Bim1 act cooperatively to regulate dynamics in G1 but not in preanaphase, whereas Bik1 acts independently from Stu2 and Bim1. On kinetochore microtubules, Bik1 and Bim1 are redundant for regulating dynamics, whereas Stu2 acts independently from Bik1 and Bim1. These results indicate that interactions among +TIPS can play important roles in the regulation of microtubule dynamics.
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