The role of self-association in Fin1 function on the mitotic spindle.
Stabilization of spindle microtubules during anaphase is essential for proper chromosome segregation. Fin1 is a budding yeast protein that localizes to the poles and microtubules of the spindle during anaphase and contributes to spindle stability. The N-terminal half of Fin1 is phosphorylated at multiple sites by the cyclin-dependent kinase Clb5-Cdk1, and dephosphorylation in anaphase triggers its localization to the spindle. The C-terminal half of Fin1 contains coiled-coil motifs that are required for its self-association. Here we investigated the functional importance of the two regions of Fin1. Fin1 mutants lacking the C-terminal coiled-coil domains localized to spindle pole bodies but not along spindle microtubules. These mutants failed to self-associate and displayed reduced binding to microtubules in vitro but were functional in vivo and stabilized anaphase spindles when dephosphorylated. Deletion of the Fin1 C terminus suppressed the lethal phenotypes of the phospho-mutant Fin15A. Our findings suggest that the N-terminal region of Fin1 is sufficient for its regulated function as a spindle-stabilizing factor and that this function involves association with the spindle pole body. The ability of the C-terminal region to promote Fin1 self-association and microtubule binding may underlie the lethal effects of the deregulated Fin15A mutant.