The switch from mitosis to meiosis is controlled by the Pat1(Ran1) kinase-Mei2p system in Schizosaccharomyces pombe . Mei2p promotes both premeiotic DNA synthesis and meiosis I, and its RNA binding ability is essential for these two processes [2, 3]. Mei2p forms a dot structure in the nucleus prior to meiosis I, aided by a specific RNA species named "meiRNA" [3-5]. Pat1 kinase phosphorylates Mei2p on two positions and downregulates its activity . Pat1 kinase undergoes inactivation under meiotic conditions, as a result of the production of a tethering pseudosubstrate Mei3p , and accumulation of the unphosphorylated form of Mei2p commits cells to meiosis . However, the mechanism of how phosphorylation of Mei2p suppresses its activity to induce meiosis remains largely unknown. Here we show that S. pombe Rad24p, a 14-3-3 protein, functions as a negative factor for meiosis by antagonizing the function of meiRNA to promote the formation of a nuclear Mei2p dot. Rad24p binds preferentially to Mei2p phosphorylated by Pat1 kinase. It inhibits association of meiRNA to the phosphorylated form of Mei2p but not to the unphosphorylated form in vitro. We speculate that Rad24p, bound tightly to the residues phosphorylated by Pat1 kinase, may mask the RNA recognition motifs on Mei2p. This model will explain, at least partly, why phosphorylation by Pat1 kinase inhibits the meiosis-inducing activity of Mei2p.
ASJC Scopus subject areas