We have isolated a cold-sensitive allele of TUB2, the sole gene encoding beta-tubulin in S. cerevisiae, that confers a specific defect in spindle microtubule function. At 14 degrees C, tub2-406 cells lack a normal bipolar spindle but do assemble functional cytoplasmic microtubules. In an attempt to identify proteins that are important for spindle assembly, we screened for suppressors of the cold-sensitivity of tub2-406 and obtained four alleles of a novel gene, STU1. Genetic interactions between stu1 alleles and alleles of TUB1 and TUB2 suggest that Stu1p specifically interacts with microtubules. STU1 is essential for growth and disruption of STU1 causes defects in spindle assembly that are similar to those produced by the tub2-406 mutation. The nucleotide sequence of the STU1 gene predicts a protein product of 174 kD with no significant similarity to known proteins. An epitope-tagged Stulp colocalizes with microtubules in the mitotic spindle of yeast. These results demonstrate that Stulp is an essential component of the yeast mitotic spindle.

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