Banyai G, Davila Lopez M, Szilagyi Z, Gustafsson CM
Cdk8 is required for correct timing of mitotic progression in fission yeast. How the activity of Cdk8 is regulated is unclear, since the kinase is not activated by T-loop phosphorylation and its partner CycC, does not oscillate. Cdk8 is however a component of the multiprotein Mediator complex, a conserved coregulator of eukaryotic transcription that is connected to a number of intracellular signaling pathways. We here demonstrate that other Mediator components regulate the activity of Cdk8 in vivo, and thereby direct the timing of mitotic entry. Deletion of Mediator components Med12 and Med13 leads to higher cellular Cdk8 protein levels, premature phosphorylation of the Cdk8 target Fkh2, and earlier entry into mitosis. We also demonstrate that Mediator is recruited to clusters of mitotic genes in a periodic fashion and that the complex is required for the transcription of these genes. We suggest that Mediator functions as a hub for coordinated regulation of mitotic progression and cell cycle dependent transcription. The many signaling pathways and activator proteins shown to function via Mediator may influence the timing of these cell cycle events.