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Inhibition Of Spindle Extension Through The Yeast S Phase Checkpoint Is Coupled To Replication Fork Stability And The Integrity Of Centromeric DNA

Jeff Julius, Jie Peng, Andrew McCulley, Chris Caridi, Remigiusz Arnak, Colby See, Constance I. Nugent, Wenyi Feng, Jeff Bachant

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Budding yeast treated with hydroxyurea (HU) activate the S phase checkpoint kinase Rad53, which prevents DNA replication forks from undergoing aberrant structural transitions and nuclease processing. Rad53 is also required to prevent premature extension of the mitotic spindle that assembles during a HU-extended S phase. Here we present evidence that checkpoint restraint of spindle extension is directly coupled to Rad53 control of replication fork stability. In budding yeast, centromeres are flanked by replication origins that fire in early S phase. Mutations affecting the Zn2+-finger of Dbf4, an origin activator, preferentially reduce centromere-proximal origin firing in HU, corresponding with suppression of rad53 spindle extension. Inactivating Exo1 nuclease or displacing centromeres from origins provides a similar suppression. Conversely, short-circuiting Rad53 targeting of Dbf4, Sld3, and Dun1, substrates contributing to fork stability, induces spindle extension. These results reveal spindle extension in HU-treated rad53 mutants is a consequence of replication fork catastrophes at centromeres. When such catastrophes occur, centromeres become susceptible to nucleases, disrupting kinetochore function and spindle force balancing mechanisms. At the same time, our data indicate centromere duplication is not required to stabilize S phase spindle structure, leading us to propose a model for how monopolar kinetochore-spindle attachments may contribute to spindle force balance in HU.