A previously uncharacterized yeast gene (YER016w) that we have named BIM1 (binding to microtubules) was obtained from a two-hybrid screen of a yeast cDNA library using as bait the entire coding sequence of TUB1 (encoding alpha-tubulin). Deletion of BIM1 results in a strong bilateral karyogamy defect, hypersensitivity to benomyl, and aberrant spindle behavior, all phenotypes associated with mutations affecting microtubules in yeast, and inviability at extreme temperatures (i.e., >/=37 degrees C or </=14 degrees C). Overexpression of BIM1 in wild-type cells is lethal. A fusion of Bim1p with green fluorescent protein that complements the bim1Delta phenotypes allows visualization in vivo of both intranuclear spindles and extranuclear microtubules in otherwise wild-type cells. A bim1 deletion displays synthetic lethality with deletion alleles of bik1, num1, and bub3 as well as a limited subset of tub1 conditional-lethal alleles. A systematic study of 51 tub1 alleles suggests a correlation between specific failure to interact with Bim1p in the two-hybrid assay and synthetic lethality with the bim1Delta allele. The sequence of BIM1 shows substantial similarity to sequences from organisms across the evolutionary spectrum. One of the human homologues, EB1, has been reported previously as binding APC, itself a microtubule-binding protein and the product of a gene implicated in the etiology of human colon cancer.
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