Spc110p (Nuf1p) is an essential component of the yeast microtubule organizing center, or spindle pole body (SPB). Asynchronous wild-type cultures contain two electrophoretically distinct isoforms of Spc110p as detected by Western blot analysis, suggesting that Spc110p is modified in vivo. Both isoforms incorporate 32Pi in vivo, suggesting that Spc110p is post-translationally modified by phosphorylation. The slower-migrating 120-kD Spc110p isoform after incubation is converted to the faster-migrating 112-kD isoform after incubation with protein phosphatase PP2A, and specific PP2A inhibitors block this conversion. Thus, additional phosphorylation of Spc110p at serine and/or threonine residues gives rise to the slower-migrating 120-kD isoform. The 120-kD isoform predominates in cells arrested in mitosis by the addition of nocodazole. However, the 120-kD isoform is not detectable in cells grown to stationary phase (G0) or in cells arrested in G1 by the addition of alpha-factor. Temperature-sensitive cell division cycle (cdc) mutations demonstrate that the presence of the 120-kD isoform correlates with mitotic spindle formation but not with SPB duplication. In a synchronous wild-type population, the additional serine/threonine phosphorylation that gives rise to the 120-kD isoform appears as cells are forming the mitotic spindle and diminishes as cells enter anaphase. None of several sequences similar to the consensus for phosphorylation by the Cdc28p (cdc2p34) kinase is important for these mitosis-specific phosphorylations or for function. Carboxy-terminal Spc110p truncations lacking the calmodulin binding site can support growth and are also phosphorylated in a cell cycle-specific manner. Further truncation of the Spc110p carboxy terminus results in mutant proteins that are unable to support growth and now migrate as single species. Collectively, these results provide the first evidence of a structural component of the SPB that is phosphorylated during spindle formation and dephosphorylated as cells enter anaphase.

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