Myosin phosphatase-targeting subunit 1 (MYPT1) binds to the catalytic subunit of protein phosphatase 1 (PP1C). This binding is believed to target PP1C to specific substrates including myosin II, thus controlling cellular contractility. Surprisingly, we found that during mitosis, mammalian MYPT1 binds to polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1). MYPT1 is phosphorylated during mitosis by proline-directed kinases including cdc2, which generates the binding motif for the polo box domain of PLK1. Depletion of PLK1 by small interfering RNAs is known to result in loss of γ-tubulin recruitment to the centrosomes, blocking centrosome maturation and leading to mitotic arrest. We found that codepletion of MYPT1 and PLK1 reinstates γ-tubulin at the centrosomes, rescuing the mitotic arrest. MYPT1 depletion increases phosphorylation of PLK1 at its activating site (Thr210) in vivo, explaining, at least in part, the rescue phenotype by codepletion. Taken together, our results identify a previously unrecognized role for MYPT1 in regulating mitosis by antagonizing PLK1.
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