KAR1 is required for duplication of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae microtubule organizing center, the spindle pole body (SPB) (Rose, M.D., and G.R. Fink, 1987. Cell. 48:1047-1060). Suppressors of a kar1 allele defective for SPB duplication were isolated in two genes, CDC31 and DSK2 (Vallen, E.A., W.H., M. Winey, and M.D. Rose. 1994. Genetics. 137:407-422). To elucidate the role of DSK2 in SPB duplication, we cloned the gene and found it encodes a novel ubiquitin-like protein containing an NH2 terminus 36% identical to ubiquitin. The only other known yeast ubiquitin-like protein is encoded by the nucleotide excision repair gene RAD23 (Watkins, J.F.,P. Sung, L. Prakash, and S. Prakash. 1993. Mol. Cell. Bio. 13:7757-7765). Unlike ubiquitin, the NH2-terminal domain of Dsk2p is not cleaved from the protein, indicating that Dsk2p is not conjugated to other proteins. Although the DSK2-1 mutation alters a conserved residue in the Dsk2p ubiquitin-like domain, we detect no differences in Dsk2p or Cdc31p stability. Therefore, DSK2 does not act by interfering with ubiquitin-dependent protein degradation of these proteins. Although DSK2 is not essential, a strain deleted for both DSK2 and RAD23 is temperature sensitive for growth due to a block in SPB duplication. In addition, overexpression of DSK2 is toxic, and the DSK2-1 allele causes a block in SPB duplication. Therefore, DSK2 dosage is critical for SPB duplication. We determined that CDC31 gene function is downstream of DSK2 and KAR1. Dsk2p is a nuclear-enriched protein, and we propose that Dsk2p assists in Cdc31 assembly into the new SPB.

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