Septins are conserved guanosine triphosphate-binding cytoskeletal proteins involved in membrane remodeling. In budding yeast, five mitotic septins (Cdc3, Cdc10, Cdc11, Cdc12, and Shs1), which are essential for cytokinesis, transition during bud growth from a patch to a collar, which splits into two rings in cytokinesis and is disassembled before the next cell cycle. Cdc3, Cdc10, Cdc11, and Cdc12 form an apolar octameric rod with Cdc11 at each tip, which polymerizes into straight paired filaments. We show that Shs1 substitutes for Cdc11, resulting in octameric rods that do not polymerize into filaments but associate laterally, forming curved bundles that close into rings. In vivo, half of shs1Δ mutant cells exhibit incomplete collars and disrupted neck filaments. Importantly, different phosphomimetic mutations in Shs1 can either prevent ring formation or promote formation of a gauzelike meshwork. These results show that a single alternative terminal subunit is sufficient to confer a distinctive higher-order septin ultrastructure that can be further regulated by phosphorylation.
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