The widely conserved kinase Aurora B regulates important events during cell division. Surprisingly, recent work has uncovered a few functions of Aurora-family kinases that do not require kinase activity. Thus, understanding this important class of cell cycle regulators will require strategies to distinguish kinase-dependent from independent functions. Here, we address this need in C. elegans by combining germline-specific, auxin-induced Aurora B (AIR-2) degradation with the transgenic expression of kinase-inactive AIR-2. Through this approach, we find that kinase activity is essential for AIR-2’s major meiotic functions and also for mitotic chromosome segregation. Moreover, our analysis revealed insight into the assembly of the ring complex (RC), a structure that is essential for chromosome congression in C. elegans oocytes. AIR-2 localizes to chromosomes and recruits other components to form the RC. However, we found that while kinase-dead AIR-2 could load onto chromosomes, other components were not recruited. This failure in RC assembly appeared to be due to a loss of RC SUMOylation, suggesting that there is crosstalk between SUMOylation and phosphorylation in building the RC and implicating AIR-2 in regulating the SUMO pathway in oocytes. Similar conditional depletion approaches may reveal new insights into other cell cycle regulators.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research