Ribonucleotide reductase activity is required for generating deoxyribonucleotides for DNA replication. Schizosaccharomyces pombe cells lacking ribonucleotide reductase activity arrest during S phase of the cell cycle. In a screen for hydroxyurea-sensitive mutants in S. pombe, we have identified a gene, liz1(+), which when mutated reveals an additional, previously undescribed role for ribonucleotide reductase activity during mitosis. Inactivation of ribonucleotide reductase, by either hydroxyurea or a cdc22-M45 mutation, causes liz1(-) cells in G2 to undergo an aberrant mitosis, resulting in chromosome missegregation and late mitotic arrest. liz1(+) encodes a 514-amino acid protein with strong similarity to a family of transmembrane transporters, and localizes to the plasma membrane of the cell. These results reveal an unexpected G2/M function of ribonucleotide reductase and establish that defects in a transmembrane protein can affect cell cycle progression.
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