Smt3/SUMO and Ubc9 are required for efficient APC/C-mediated proteolysis in budding yeast


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Ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis triggered by the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) is essential for sister chromatid separation and the mitotic exit. Like ubiquitylation, protein modification with the small ubiquitin-related modifier SUMO appears to be important during mitosis, because yeast cells impaired in the SUMO-conjugating enzyme Ubc9 were found to be blocked in mitosis and defective in cyclin degradation. Here, we analysed the role of SUMOylation in the metaphase/anaphase transition and in APC/C-mediated proteolysis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We show that cells depleted of Ubc9 or Smt3, the yeast SUMO protein, mostly arrested with undivided nuclei and with high levels of securin Pds1. This metaphase block was partially relieved by a deletion of PDS1. The absence of Ubc9 or Smt3 also resulted in defects in chromosome segregation. Temperature-sensitive ubc9-2 mutants were delayed in proteolysis of Pds1 and of cyclin Clb2 during mitosis. The requirement of SUMOylation for APC/C-mediated degradation was tested more directly in G1-arrested cells. Both ubc9-2 and smt3-331 mutants were defective in efficient degradation of Pds1 and mitotic cyclins, whereas proteolysis of unstable proteins that are not APC/C substrates was unaffected. We conclude that SUMOylation is needed for efficient proteolysis mediated by APC/C in budding yeast.