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Kinesin-14 family proteins and microtubule dynamics define S. pombe mitotic and meiotic spindle assembly, and elongation
To segregate the chromosomes faithfully during cell division, cells assemble a spindle that captures the kinetochores and pulls them towards opposite poles. Proper spindle function requires correct interplay between microtubule motors and non-motor proteins. Defects in spindle assembly or changes in spindle dynamics are associated with diseases, such as cancer or developmental disorders. Here, we compared mitotic and meiotic spindles in fission yeast. We show that, even though mitotic and meiotic spindles underwent the typical three phases of spindle elongation, they have distinct features. We found that the relative concentration of the kinesin-14 family protein Pkl1 is decreased in meiosis I compared to mitosis, while the concentration of the kinesin-5 family protein Cut7 remains constant. We identified the second kinesin-14 family protein Klp2 and microtubule dynamics as factors necessary for proper meiotic spindle assembly. This work defines the differences between mitotic and meiotic spindles in fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, and provides prospect for future comparative studies.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.