Multifunctional Cytokinesis Genes in Schizosaccharomyces pombe


The proper division of cells is essential for the production of viable daughter cells. In plants and fungi, the dividing cell produces a cross-wall or septum that bisects the cytoplasm. For separation of the daughter cells, the septum has to be cleaved. To study the regulation of this process, we isolated mutants defective in septum cleavage. The mutants showed highly pleiotropic phenotypes and defined 17 novel genes. The deduced amino acid sequences of the products of the cloned genes exhibited homologies to various transcription regulators of other organisms. The homologies and the pleiotropic effects of the mutations on sexual development, stress response, mitotic stability, septum initiation and septum placement indicated that these genes affect cell separation indirectly, through multifunctional regulatory modules.


  1. 1.

    Belotserkovskaya, R., Sterner, D. E., Deng, M., Sayre, M. H., Lieberman, P. M., Berger, S. L. (2000) Inhibition of TATA-binding function by SAGA subunits Spt3 and Spt8 at Gcn4-activated promoters. Mol. Cell. Biol. 20, 634–647.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Bostock, C. J. (1970) DNA synthesis in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomycespombe. Exp. Cell Res. 60, 16–26.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Chang, M., Jaehning, J. A. (1997) A multiplicity of mediators: alternative forms of transcription complexes communicate with transcriptional regulators. Nucleic Acids Res. 25, 4861–4865.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Chant, J., Pringle, J. R. (1995) Patterns of bud-site selection in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. J. Cell Biol. 129, 751–765.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Fan, H.-Y., Klein, H. L. (1994) Characterization of mutations that suppress the temperature-sensitive growth of the hpr1Δ mutant of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Genetics 137, 945–956.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Fankhauser, C., Reymond, A., Cerutti, L., Utzig, S., Hofmann, K., Simanis, V. (1995) The S. pombe cdc15 gene is a key element in the reorganisation of F-actin at mitosis. Cell 82, 435–444.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Grallert, A., Grallert, B., Ribár, B., Sipiczki, M. (1998) Coordination of initiation of nuclear division and initiation of cell division in Schizosaccharomyces pombe: Genetic interactions of mutations. J. Bacteriol 180, 892–900.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Grallert, A., Grallert, B., Zilahi, E., Szilágyi, Z., Sipiczki, M. (1999) Eleven novel sep genes of Schizosaccharomyces pombe required for efficient cell separation and sexual differentiation. Yeast 15, 669–686.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Grallert, A., Miklós, I., Sipiczki, M. (1997) Division site selection, cell separation and formation of anucleate minicells in Schizosaccharomyces pombe mutants resistant to cell wall lytic enzymes. Protoplasma 198, 218–229.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Grallert, A., Sipiczki, M. (1999) Identification of novel sep genes of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Cancer and Cell Cycle. ISREC Conference. Lausanne (Switzerland). Abstract Book PA-87.

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Grant, P. A., Berger, S. L. (1999) Histone acetyltransferase complexes. Cell Developmental Biol. 10, 169–177.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Hales, K. G., Bi, E., Wu, J-Q., Adam, J. C., Yu, I.-C, Pringle, J. R. (1999) Cytokinesis: an emerging unified theory for eukaryotes? Curr Opin. Cell. Biol 11, 717–725.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Hromas, R., Costa, R. (1995) The hepatocyte nuclear factor 3/fork head transcription regulatory family in development, inflammation and neoplasia. Crit. Rev Oncol. Hematol. 20, 129–140.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Johnson, B. F., Calleja, G. B., Zuker, M., McDonald, T. J. (1982) Cell division: key to cellular morphogenesis in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Int. Rev. Cytol. 75, 167–208.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Kim, Y. J., Bjorklund, S., Li, Y., Sayre, M. H., Kornberg, R. D. (1994) A multiprotein mediator of transcription activation and its interaction with the C-terminal repeat domain of RNA polymerase II. Cell 77, 599–608.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Le Goff, X., Utzig, S., Simanis, V. (1999) Controlling septation in fission yeast: finding the middle, and timing it right. Curr. Genet. 35, 571–584.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Lee, Y C., Min, S., Gim, B. S., Kim, Y J. (1997) A transcriptional mediator protein that is required for activation of many RNA polymerase II promoters is conserved from yeast to humans. Mol. Cell Biol. 17, 4622–4632.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Marks, J., Hyams, J. S. (1985) Localization of F-actin through the cell division cycle of S pombe. Eur J. Cell Biol 39, 27–32.

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    McCollum, D., Balasubramanian, M. K., Pelcher, L. E., Hemmingsen, S. M., Gould, K. L. (1995) Schizosaccharomyces pombe cdc4+ gene encodes a novel EF-hand protein for cytokinesis. J. Cell Biol. 130, 651–660.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Miklös, I., Sipiczki, M. (1999) Analysis of a Schizosaccharomyces pombe cytokinesis mutant strain defective in the spl1 gene. Curr. Gen. 35, 439.

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Murray, L. E., Rowley, N., Dawes, I. W., Johnston, G. C., Singer, R. A. (1998) Ayeast glutamine tRNA signals nitrogen status for regulation of dimorphic growth and sporulation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 95, 8619–8624.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Myers, L. C., Gustavson, C. M., Bushnell, D. A., Lui, M., Erdjument-Bromage, H., Tempst, P., Kornberg, R. D. (1998) The med proteins of yeast and their function through the RNA polymerase II carboxy-terminal domain. Genes Development 12, 45–54.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Ribar, B, Banrevi, A., Sipiczki, M. (1997) sep1 +encodes a transcription-factor homologue of the HNF-3/fork-head DNA-binding-domain family in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Gene 202, 1–5.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Russel, P. R., Nurse, P. (1986) cdc25+ functions as an inducer of mitotic control of fission yeast. Cell 45, 145–153.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Russel, P. R., Nurse, P. (1987) Negative regulation of mitosis by wee1+, a gene encoding a protein kinase homolog. Cell 49, 559–567.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Sipiczki, M. (1988) The role of sterility genes (ste and aff) in the initiation of sexual development in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Molec. Gen. Genet. 213, 529–534.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Sipiczki, M. (2000) Where does fission yeast sit on the tree of life? Genome Biology 1, 10111–10114.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Sipiczki, M., Bozsik, A. (2000) The use of morphomutants to investigate septum formation and cell separation in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Arch. Microbiol. (in press).

    Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Sipiczki, M., Grallert, B., Miklós, I. (1993) Mycelial and syncytial growth in Schizosaccharomyces pombe induced by novel septation mutations. J. Cell. Sci. 104, 485–493.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Sipiczki, M., Grallert, A., Miklös, I., Zilahi. E., Bozsik, A., Szilágyi, Z. (1999) Genetics, physiology and cytology of yeast-mycelial dimorphism in fission yeasts. Acta Microbiol. Immunol. Hung. 46, 297–302.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Sipiczki, M., Yamaguchi, M., Grallert, A., Takeo, K., Zilahi, E, Bozsik, A., Miklós, I. (2000) Role of cell shape in determination of the division plane in Schizosaccharomyces pombe: Random orientation of septa in spherical cells. J. Bacteriol. 182, 1693–1701.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Szilágyi, Z., Grallert, A., Zilahi, E., Sipiczki, M. (2000) The Schizosaccharomyces pombe sep10 gene encodes a conservative protein that presumably plays a role in transcription of a subset of genes. First Joint Meeting of the Slovenian Society for Microbiology and the Hungarian Society for Microbiology. Keszthely, Hungary. Programme and Abstracts p. 67.

    Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Zilahi, E., Miklós, I., Sipiczki, M. (2000) The Schizosaccharomyces pombe sep15+ gene encodes a protein homologous to the Med8 subunit of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae transcriptional mediator complex. Curr Genet. (in press).

    Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Zilahi, E., Salimova, E., Simanis, V., Sipiczki, M. (2000) The S pombe sep1 gene encodes a nuclear protein that influences the expression of the cdc15 gene. FEBS Letters (in press).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to M. Sipiczki.

Additional information

Dedicated to Professor Lajos Ferenczy on the occasion of his 70th birthday.

Rights and permissions

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sipiczki, M., Grallert, Á., Zilahi, E. et al. Multifunctional Cytokinesis Genes in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. BIOLOGIA FUTURA 52, 315–323 (2001).

Download citation


  • cytokinesis
  • yeast
  • Schizosaccharomyces
  • transcription
  • sterility