A cdc2-3w weel-50 double mutant of fission yeast displays a temperature-sensitive lethal phenotype that is associated with gross abnormalities of chromosome segregation and has been termed mitotic catastrophe. In order to identify new genetic elements that might interact with the cdc2 protein kinase in the regulation of mitosis, we have isolated revertants of the lethal double mutant. The suppressor mutations define six mcs genes (mcs: mitotic catastrophe suppressor) that are not allelic to any of the following mitotic control genes: cdc2, wee 1, cdc13, cdc25, suc1 or nim1. Each mcs mutation is recessive with respect to wild-type in its ability to suppress mitotic catastrophe. None confer a lethal phenotype as a single mutant but few of the mutants are expected to be nulls. A diverse range of genetic interactions between the mcs mutants and other mitotic regulators were uncovered, including the following examples. First, mcs2 cdc2w or mcs6 cdc2w double mutants display a cell cycle defect dependent on the specific wee allele of cdc2. Second, both mcs1 cdc25-22 or mcs4 cdc25-22 double mutants are nonconditionally lethal, even at a temperature normally permissive for cdc25-22. Finally, the characteristic suppression of the cdc25 phenotype by a loss-of-function wee1 mutation is reversed in a mcs3 mutant background. The mcs genes define new mitotic elements that might be activators or substrates of the cdc2 protein kinase.
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