It is crucial to the eucaryotic cell cycle that the centrosome undergo precise duplication to generate the two poles of the mitotic spindle. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, centrosomal functions are provided by the spindle pole body (SPB), which is duplicated at the time of bud emergence in G1 of the cell cycle. Genetic control of this process has previously been revealed by the characterization of mutants in CDC31 and KAR1, which prevent SPB duplication and lead to formation of a monopolar spindle. Newly isolated mutations described here (mps1 and mps2, for monopolar spindle) similarly cause monopolar mitosis but their underlying effects on SPB duplication are unique. The MPS1 gene is found by electron microscopy to be essential for proper formation of the site at which the new SPB normally arises adjacent to the existing one. By contrast, a mutation in MPS2 permits duplication to proceed, but the newly formed SPB is structurally defective and unable to serve as a functional spindle pole. Distinct temporal requirements for the CDC31, MPS1, and MPS2 gene functions during the SPB duplication cycle further demonstrate the individual roles of these genes in the morphogenetic pathway.

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