Spindle position is coordinated with cell-cycle progression through establishment of mitotic exit-activating and -inhibitory zones.
How spatial information is translated into a chemical signal is a fundamental problem in all organisms. The spindle position checkpoint is a prime example of this problem. This checkpoint senses spindle position and, in budding yeast, inhibits the mitotic exit network (MEN), a signaling pathway that promotes exit from mitosis. We find that spindle position is sensed by a system composed of MEN-inhibitory and -activating zones and a sensor that moves between them. The MEN inhibitory zone is located in the mother cell, the MEN-activating zone in the bud, and the spindle pole body (SPB), where the components of the MEN reside, functions as the sensor. Only when an SPB escapes the MEN inhibitor Kin4 in the mother cell and moves into the bud where the MEN activator Lte1 resides can exit from mitosis occur. In this manner, spatial information is sensed and translated into a chemical signal.