Mitosis is promoted and regulated by reversible protein phosphorylation catalyzed by the essential NIMA and CDK1 kinases in the model filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans. Protein methylation mediated by the Set1/COMPASS methyltransferase complex has also been shown to regulate mitosis in budding yeast with the Aurora mitotic kinase. We uncover a genetic interaction between An-swd1, which encodes a subunit of the Set1 protein methyltransferase complex, with NIMA as partial inactivation of nimA is poorly tolerated in the absence of swd1. This genetic interaction is additionally seen without the Set1 methyltransferase catalytic subunit. Importantly partial inactivation of NIMT, a mitotic activator of the CDK1 kinase, also causes lethality in the absence of Set1 function, revealing a functional relationship between the Set1 complex and two pivotal mitotic kinases. The main target for Set1-mediated methylation is histone H3K4. Mutational analysis of histone H3 revealed that modifying the H3K4 target residue of Set1 methyltransferase activity phenocopied the lethality seen when either NIMA or CDK1 are partially functional. We probed the mechanistic basis of these genetic interactions and find that the Set1 complex performs functions with CDK1 for initiating mitosis and with NIMA during progression through mitosis. The studies uncover a joint requirement for the Set1 methyltransferase complex with the CDK1 and NIMA kinases for successful mitosis. The findings extend the roles of the Set1 complex to include the initiation of mitosis with CDK1 and mitotic progression with NIMA in addition to its previously identified interactions with Aurora and type 1 phosphatase in budding yeast.
- Received December 18, 2013.
- Accepted May 12, 2014.
- Copyright © 2014 by the Genetics Society of America