The function of the essential MIF2 gene in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell cycle was examined by overepressing or creating a deficit of MIF2 gene product. When MIF2 was overexpressed, chromosomes missegregated during mitosis and cells accumulated in the G2 and M phases of the cell cycle. Temperature sensitive mutants isolated by in vitro mutagenesis delayed cell cycle progression when grown at the restrictive temperature, accumulated as large budded cells that had completed DNA replication but not chromosome segregation, and lost viability as they passed through mitosis. Mutant cells also showed increased levels of mitotic chromosome loss, supersensitivity to the microtubule destabilizing drug MBC, and morphologically aberrant spindles. mif2 mutant spindles arrested development immediately before anaphase spindle elongation, and then frequently broke apart into two disconnected short half spindles with misoriented spindle pole bodies. These findings indicate that MIF2 is required for structural integrity of the spindle during anaphase spindle elongation. The deduced Mif2 protein sequence shared no extensive homologies with previously identified proteins but did contain a short region of homology to a motif involved in binding AT rich DNA by the Drosophila D1 and mammalian HMGI chromosomal proteins.

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