Cell cycle specificity of certain antimicrotubular drugs in schizosaccharomyces pombe
Of the seven antimicrotubular drugs tested, nocodazole, mebendazole and trifluralin at saturable concentrations failed to inhibit cell division in Schizosaccharomyces pombe, while carbendazim, thiabendazole and chloropropham each at 50 micrograms ml- and amiprophos methyl at 200 micrograms ml-1 completely arrested cell division. This inhibition was associated with striking morphological changes in which carbendazim- and thiabendazole-treated cells became elongated and pseudohyphal, whereas chloropropham- and amiprophos methyl-treated cells appeared small and rounded with occasional V-shaped pairs. Lomofungin staining revealed that nuclear division was also arrested by these drugs. Suspected blockage of defined cell cycle stages was confirmed by pulse-induction experiments which revealed that cells could be synchronized into division using exposure to a drug for one generation. Further experiments with synchronous cultures prepared by size selection showed that different drugs possessed different transition points; for example, carbendazim and thiabendazole were effective in blocking a late stage of the cell cycle just prior to division, whereas amiprophos methyl affected a very early stage. The results suggest that some of the drugs used exert cell cycle specificity in S. pombe either by impairing microtubule assembly mechanisms (as with carbendazim and thiabendazole) or by inhibiting synthesis of tubulin subunits (as with amiprophos methyl). These drugs could prove useful in studies of microtubule biogenesis during the cell cycle in yeast.