Tub4p is a novel tubulin in Saccharomyces cerevisiae that most closely resembles gamma-tubulin. We report in this manuscript that the essential Tub4p is associated with the inner and outer plaques of the yeast microtubule organizing center, the spindle pole body (SPB). These SPB substructures are involved in the attachment of the nuclear and cytoplasmic microtubules, respectively (Byers, B., and L. Goetsch. 1975. J. Bacteriol. 124:511-523). Study of a temperature sensitive tub4-1 allele revealed that TUB4 has essential functions in microtubule organization. Remarkably, SPB duplication and separation are not impaired in tub4-1 cells incubated at the nonpermissive temperature. However, SPBs from such cells contain less or misdirected nuclear microtubules. Further analysis revealed that tub4-1 cells are able to assemble a short bipolar spindle, suggesting that the defect in microtubule organization occurs after spindle formation. A role of Tub4p in microtubule organization is further suggested by an increase in chromosome loss in tub4-1 cells. In addition, cell cycle arrest and survival of tub4-1 cells is dependent on the mitotic checkpoint control gene BUB2 (Hoyt, M.A., L. Totis, B.T. Roberts. 1991. Cell. 66:507-517), one of the cell's monitors of spindle integrity.

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