Slk19p of Saccharomyces cerevisiae regulates anaphase spindle dynamics through two independent mechanisms.
Slk19p is a member of the Cdc-14 early anaphase release (FEAR) pathway, a signaling network that is responsible for activation of the cell-cycle regulator Cdc14p in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Disruption of the FEAR pathway results in defects in anaphase, including alterations in the assembly and behavior of the anaphase spindle. Many phenotypes of slk19Δ mutants are consistent with a loss of FEAR signaling, but other phenotypes suggest that Slk19p may have FEAR-independent roles in modulating the behavior of microtubules in anaphase. Here, a series of SLK19 in-frame deletion mutations were used to test whether Slk19p has distinct roles in anaphase that can be ascribed to specific regions of the protein. Separation-of-function alleles were identified that are defective for either FEAR signaling or aspects of anaphase spindle function. The data suggest that in early anaphase one region of Slk19p is essential for FEAR signaling, while later in anaphase another region is critical for maintaining the coordination between spindle elongation and the growth of interpolar microtubules.