Spindle assembly requires complete disassembly of spindle remnants from the previous cell cycle.
Incomplete mitotic spindle disassembly causes lethality in budding yeast. To determine why spindle disassembly is required for cell viability, we used live-cell microscopy to analyze a double mutant strain containing a conditional mutant and a deletion mutant compromised for the kinesin-8 and anaphase-promoting complex-driven spindle-disassembly pathways (td-kip3 and doc1Δ, respectively). Under nonpermissive conditions, spindles in td-kip3 doc1Δ cells could break apart but could not disassemble completely. These cells could exit mitosis and undergo cell division. However, the daughter cells could not assemble functional, bipolar spindles in the ensuing mitosis. During the formation of these dysfunctional spindles, centrosome duplication and separation, as well as recruitment of key midzone-stabilizing proteins all appeared normal, but microtubule polymerization was nevertheless impaired and these spindles often collapsed. Introduction of free tubulin through episomal expression of α- and β-tubulin or introduction of a brief pulse of the microtubule-depolymerizing drug nocodazole allowed spindle assembly in these td-kip3 doc1Δ mutants. Therefore we propose that spindle disassembly is essential for regeneration of the intracellular pool of assembly-competent tubulin required for efficient spindle assembly during subsequent mitoses of daughter cells.