Functionally distinct isoforms of Cik1 are differentially regulated by APC/C-mediated proteolysis.
Cik1, in association with the kinesin Kar3, controls both the mitotic spindle and nuclear fusion during mating. Here, we show that there are two Cik1 isoforms, and that the mitotic form includes an N-terminal domain required for ubiquitination by the Anaphase-Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C). During vegetative growth, Cik1 is expressed during mitosis and regulates the mitotic spindle, allowing for accurate chromosome segregation. After mitosis, APC/C(Cdh1) targets Cik1 for ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. Upon exposure to the mating pheromone alpha factor, a smaller APC/C-resistant Cik1 isoform is expressed from an alternate transcriptional start site. This shorter Cik1 isoform is stable and cannot be ubiquitinated by APC/C(Cdh1). Moreover, the two Cik1 isoforms are functionally distinct. Cells that express only the long isoform have defects in nuclear fusion, whereas cells expressing only the short isoform have an increased rate of chromosome loss. These results demonstrate a coupling of transcriptional regulation and APC/C-mediated proteolysis.