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© 2020. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd. Cellular polarization underlies many facets of cell behavior, including cell growth. The rod-shaped fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe is a well-established, genetically tractable system for studying growth polarity regulation. S. pombe cells elongate at their two cell tips in a cell cycle-controlled manner, transitioning from monopolar to bipolar growth in interphase when new ends established by the most recent cell division begin to extend. We previously identified cytokinesis as a critical regulator of new end growth and demonstrated that Fic1, a cytokinetic factor, is required for normal polarized growth at new ends. Here, we report that Fic1 is phosphorylated on two C-terminal residues, which are each targeted by multiple protein kinases. Endogenously expressed Fic1 phosphomutants cannot support proper bipolar growth, and the resultant defects facilitate the switch into an invasive pseudohyphal state. Thus, phosphoregulation of Fic1 links the completion of cytokinesis to the re-establishment of polarized growth in the next cell cycle. These findings broaden the scope of signaling events that contribute to regulating S. pombe growth polarity, underscoring that cytokinetic factors constitute relevant targets of kinases affecting new end growth.This article has an associated First Person interview with Anthony M. Rossi, joint first author of the paper.

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Journal of cell science