The Aspergillus nidulans bimA gene is required for mitosis. Loss of function mutations in bimA cause cells to arrest growth with condensed chromatin and a short, metaphaselike mitotic spindle. bimA is a member of a gene family defined by a repeated motif called the Tetratrico Peptide Repeat (TPR), which is found in genes from bacteria, yeast and insects. Several yeast TPR genes are also required for mitosis, including Saccharomyces cerevisiae CDC27 and Schizosaccharomyces pombe nuc2+, which appear to be functional homologs of bimA. We have developed antisera specific to the bimA protein (BIMA) and have characterized BIMA by western blot and immunocytochemical analyses. BIMA is heterogeneous in apparent molecular weight, consisting of a major 90-kD species and at least two minor species of approximately 105 kD. The results of BIMA localization by immunofluorescence microscopy depend on the level of BIMA expression. Overexpression of BIMA, which had no deleterious affect on growth or mitosis, resulted in localization of BIMA on or throughout most nuclei. Nuclear staining was granular, and overlapped but was not completely coincident with DNA staining by DAPI. In contrast, when expressed at normal levels, BIMA colocalized with the spindle pole body (SPB). BIMA localized to the SPB in a cell cycle independent manner. These results show that BIMA is either associated with or is a component of the SPB, and they suggest that BIMA functions at the spindle poles to promote the onset of anaphase.

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