The temperature-sensitive cell cycle mutation nimA5 causes nuclei of Aspergillus nidulans to be blocked in late G2 at restrictive temperature. Under these conditions the spindle pole body divides but does not separate and the mitotic index drops to zero. If nimA5 is blocked for more than one doubling time and then shifted from restrictive to permissive temperature, nuclei immediately enter mitosis, the mitotic spindle forms, and the chromosomes condense (Oakley, B. R., and N. R. Morris, 1983, J. Cell Biol., 96:1155-8). We have cloned the wild-type nimA gene by DNA-mediated complementation of the nimA5 mutant phenotype and have characterized nimA mRNA expression by Northern blot analysis. The transcript is 3.6 kb in length and is under tight nuclear cycle regulation. In synchronously dividing cells, the levels of nimA mRNA become elevated as cells enter mitosis and drop sharply as cells progress through mitosis. Cells blocked in S-phase with hydroxyurea have very low levels of nimA mRNA. Cells blocked in mitosis, either by the antimitotic agent benomyl or by the cell cycle mutation bimE7, maintain elevated levels of the nimA transcript. These data demonstrate not only that nimA is required for entry into mitosis, but because the transcript is normally expressed cyclically and is under tight cell cycle control, they suggest that nimA may play a regulatory role in the initiation of mitosis.

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