Hippo pathways are ancient signaling systems that contribute to cell growth and proliferation in a wide diversity of eukaryotes, and have emerged as a conserved regulator of organ size control in metazoans. In budding yeast, a Hippo signaling pathway called the Regulation of Ace2 and Morphogenesis (RAM) network promotes polarized cell growth and the final event in the separation of mother and daughter cells. A crucial regulatory input for RAM network control of cell separation is phosphorylation of a conserved hydrophobic motif (HM) site on the NDR/LATS family kinase Cbk1. Here we provide the first direct evidence that the Hippo-like kinase Kic1 in fact phosphorylates the HM site of Cbk1, and show that Kic1 is allosterically activated by Hym1, a highly conserved protein related to mammalian MO25. Using the structure of mammalian MO25 in complex with the Kic1-related pseudokinase STRAD, we identified conserved residues on Kic1 that are required for interaction with Hym1. We find that Kic1 and Hym1 protein levels remain constant throughout the cell cycle but the proteins' association is regulated, with maximal interaction coinciding with peak Cbk1 HM site phosphorylation. We show that this association is necessary but not sufficient for this phosphorylation, suggesting another level of regulation is required to promote the complex to act upon its substrates. This work presents a previously undiscovered cell cycle regulated interaction between a Hippo kinase and a broadly conserved allosteric activator. Because of the conserved nature of this pathway in higher eukaryotes, this work may also provide insight into the modularity of Hippo signaling pathways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)