Cdc31 mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae arrest at the nonpermissive temperature with large buds, G2 DNA content and, a single, abnormally large spindle pole body (SPB) (Byers, B. 1981. Molecular Genetics in Yeast. Alfred Benzon Symposium. 16:119-133). In this report, we show that the CDC31 gene product is essential for cell viability. We demonstrate that purified CDC31 protein binds Ca2+ and that this binding is highly specific. Taken together, three lines of evidence indicate that CDC31 is a component of the SPB. First, CDC31 cofractionates with enriched preparations of SPBs. Second, immunofluorescence staining indicates that CDC31 colocalizes with a known SPB component. Third, immunoelectron microscopy with whole cells and with isolated SPBs reveals that CDC31 is localized to the half bridge of the SPB, which lies immediately adjacent to the SPB plaques. CDC31 was detected mainly at the cytoplasmic side of the half bridge and, therefore, defines a further substructure of the SPB. We suggest that CDC31 is a member of a family of calcium-binding, centrosome-associated proteins from a phylogenetically diverse group of organisms.

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