[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ascomycetes Candida albicans, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Scheffersomyces stipitis metabolize the pentose sugar xylose very differently. S. cerevisiae fails to grow on xylose, while C. albicans can grow, and S. stipitis can both grow and ferment xylose to ethanol. However, all three species contain highly similar genes that encode potential xylose reductases and xylitol dehydrogenases required to convert xylose to xylulose, and xylulose supports the growth of all three fungi. We have created C. albicans strains deleted for the xylose reductase gene GRE3, the xylitol dehydrogenase gene XYL2, as well as the gre3 xyl2 double mutant. As expected, all the mutant strains cannot grow on xylose, while the single gre3 mutant can grow on xylitol. The gre3 and xyl2 mutants are efficiently complemented by the XYL1 and XYL2 from S. stipitis. Intriguingly, the S. cerevisiae GRE3 gene can complement the Cagre3 mutant, while the ScSOR1 gene can complement the Caxyl2 mutant, showing that S. cerevisiae contains the enzymatic capacity for converting xylose to xylulose. In addition, the gre3 xyl2 double mutant of C. albicans is effectively rescued by the xylose isomerase (XI) gene of either Piromyces or Orpinomyces, suggesting that the XI provides an alternative to the missing oxido-reductase functions in the mutant required for the xylose-xylulose conversion. Overall this work suggests that C. albicans strains engineered to lack essential steps for xylose metabolism can provide a platform for the analysis of xylose metabolism enzymes from a variety of species, and confirms that S. cerevisiae has the genetic potential to convert xylose to xylulose, although non-engineered strains cannot proliferate on xylose as the sole carbon source.
PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(11):e80733. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although gastrointestinal colonization by the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans is generally benign, severe systemic infections are thought to arise due to escape of commensal C. albicans from the GI tract. The C. albicans transcription factor Efg1p is a major regulator of GI colonization, hyphal morphogenesis and virulence. The goals of this study were to identify the Efg1p-regulon during GI tract colonization and to compare C. albicans gene expression during colonization of different organs of the GI tract. Our results identified significant differences in gene expression between cells colonizing the cecum and ileum. During colonization, efg1(-) null mutant cells expressed higher levels of genes involved in lipid catabolism, carnitine biosynthesis and carnitine utilization in comparison to colonizing WT cells. In addition, during laboratory growth, efg1(-) null mutant cells grew to a higher density than WT cells. The efg1(-) null mutant grew in depleted medium, while WT cells could only grow if the depleted medium was supplemented with carnitine, a compound that promotes the metabolism of fatty acids. Altered gene expression and altered growth capability support the ability of efg1(-) cells to hypercolonize naïve mice. Also, Efg1p was shown to be important for transcriptional responses to the stresses present in the cecum environment. For example, during colonization, SOD5, encoding a superoxide dismutase, was highly up-regulated in an Efg1p-dependent manner. Ectopic expression of SOD5 in an efg1(-) null mutant increased the fitness of the efg1(-) null mutant cells during colonization. These data show that EFG1 is an important regulator of GI colonization.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Scaffold proteins play central roles in the function of many signaling pathways. Among the best-studied examples are the Ste5 and Far1 proteins of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These proteins contain three conserved modules, the RING and PH domains, characteristic of some ubiquitin-ligating enzymes, and a vWA domain implicated in protein-protein interactions. In yeast, Ste5p regulates the mating pathway kinases while Far1p coordinates the cellular polarity machinery. Within the fungal lineage, the Basidiomycetes and the Pezizomycetes contain a single Far1-like protein, while several Saccharomycotina species, belonging to the CTG (Candida) clade, contain both a classic Far1-like protein and a Ste5-like protein that lacks the vWA domain. We analyzed the function of C. albicans Ste5p (Cst5p), a member of this class of structurally distinct Ste5 proteins. CST5 is essential for mating and still coordinates the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase (MAPK) cascade elements in the absence of the vWA domain; Cst5p interacts with the MEK kinase (MEKK) C. albicans Ste11p (CaSte11p) and the MAPK Cek1 as well as with the MEK Hst7 in a vWA domain-independent manner. Cst5p can homodimerize, similar to Ste5p, but can also heterodimerize with Far1p, potentially forming heteromeric signaling scaffolds. We found direct binding between the MEKK CaSte11p and the MEK Hst7p that depends on a mobile acidic loop absent from S. cerevisiae Ste11p but related to the Ste7-binding region within the vWA domain of Ste5p. Thus, the fungal lineage has restructured specific scaffolding modules to coordinate the proteins required to direct the gene expression, polarity, and cell cycle regulation essential for mating.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The yeast STE18 gene product has sequence and functional similarity to the gamma subunits of G proteins. The cloned STE18 gene was subjected to a saturation mutagenesis using doped oligonucleotides. The populations of mutant genes were screened for two classes of STE18 mutations, those that allowed for increased mating of a strain containing a defective STE4 gene (compensators) and those that inhibited mating even in the presence of a functional STE18 gene (dominant negatives). Three amino acid substitutions that enhanced mating in a specific STE4 (G beta) point mutant background were identified. These compensatory mutations were allele specific and had no detectable phenotype of their own; they may define residues that mediate an association between the G beta and G gamma subunits or in the association of the G beta gamma subunit with other components of the signalling pathway. Several dominant negative mutations were also identified, including two C terminal truncations. These mutant proteins were unable to function in signal transduction by themselves, but they prevented signal transduction mediated by pheromone, as well as the constitutive signalling which is present in cells defective in the GPA1 (G alpha) gene. These mutant proteins may sequester G beta or some other component of the signalling machinery in a nonfunctional complex.
Biochemistry and Cell Biology 01/2011; 70(10-11):1230-7. · 2.35 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the fungus Candida albicans is a commensal colonizer of humans, the organism is also an important opportunistic pathogen. Most infections caused by C. albicans arise from organisms that were previously colonizing the host as commensals, and therefore successful establishment of colonization is a prerequisite for pathogenicity. To elucidate fungal activities that promote colonization, an analysis of the transcription profile of C. albicans cells recovered from the intestinal tracts of mice was performed. The results showed that within the C. albicans colonizing population, cells expressed genes characteristic of the laboratory-grown exponential phase and genes characteristic of post-exponential-phase cells. Thus, gene expression both promoted the ability to grow rapidly (a characteristic of exponential-phase cells) and enhanced the ability to resist stresses (a characteristic of post-exponential-phase cells). Similarities in gene expression in commensal colonizing cells and cells invading host tissue during disease were found, showing that C. albicans cells adopt a particular cell surface when growing within a host in both situations. In addition, transcription factors Cph2p and Tec1p were shown to regulate C. albicans gene expression during intestinal colonization.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A pheromone-mediated signaling pathway that couples seven-transmembrane-domain (7-TMD) receptors to a mitogen-activated protein kinase module controls Candida albicans mating. 7-TMD receptors are typically connected to heterotrimeric G proteins whose activation regulates downstream effectors. Two Galpha subunits in C. albicans have been identified previously, both of which have been implicated in aspects of pheromone response. Cag1p was found to complement the mating pathway function of the pheromone receptor-coupled Galpha subunit in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Gpa2p was shown to have a role in the regulation of cyclic AMP signaling in C. albicans and to repress pheromone-mediated arrest. Here, we show that the disruption of CAG1 prevented mating, inactivated pheromone-mediated arrest and morphological changes, and blocked pheromone-mediated gene expression changes in opaque cells of C. albicans and that the overproduction of CAG1 suppressed the hyperactive cell cycle arrest exhibited by sst2 mutant cells. Because the disruption of the STE4 homolog constituting the only C. albicans gene for a heterotrimeric Gbeta subunit also blocked mating and pheromone response, it appears that in this fungal pathogen the Galpha and Gbeta subunits do not act antagonistically but, instead, are both required for the transmission of the mating signal.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Candida albicans cells of opposite mating types are thought to conjugate during infection in mammalian hosts, but paradoxically, the mating-competent opaque state is not stable at mammalian body temperatures. We found that anaerobic conditions stabilize the opaque state at 37 degrees C, block production of farnesol, and permit in vitro mating at 37 degrees C at efficiencies of up to 84%. Aerobically, farnesol prevents mating because it kills the opaque cells necessary for mating, and as a corollary, farnesol production is turned off in opaque cells. These in vitro observations suggest that naturally anaerobic sites, such as the efficiently colonized gastrointestinal (GI) tract, could serve as niches for C. albicans mating. In a direct test of mating in the mouse GI tract, prototrophic cells were obtained from auxotrophic parent cells, confirming that mating will occur in this organ. These cells were true mating products because they were tetraploid, mononuclear, and prototrophic, and they contained the heterologous hisG marker from one of the parental strains.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the opaque state, MTLa and MTLalpha strains of Candida albicans are able to mate, and this mating is directed by a pheromone-mediated signaling process. We have used comparisons of genome sequences to identify a C. albicans gene encoding a candidate a-specific mating factor. This gene is conserved in Candida dubliniensis and is similar to a three-gene family in the related fungus Candida parapsilosis but has extremely limited similarity to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae MFA1 (ScMFA1) and ScMFA2 genes. All these genes encode C-terminal CAAX box motifs characteristic of prenylated proteins. The C. albicans gene, designated CaMFA1, is found on chromosome 2 between ORF19.2165 and ORF19.2219. MFA1 encodes an open reading frame of 42 amino acids that is predicted to be processed to a 14-amino-acid prenylated mature pheromone. Microarray analysis shows that MFA1 is poorly expressed in opaque MTLa cells but is induced when the cells are treated with alpha-factor. Disruption of this C. albicans gene blocks the mating of MTLa cells but not MTLalpha cells, while the reintegration of the gene suppresses this cell-type-specific mating defect.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The 10.9x genomic sequence of Candida albicans, the most important human fungal pathogen, was published in 2004. Assembly 19 consisted of 412 supercontigs, of which 266 were a haploid set, since this fungus is diploid and contains an extensive degree of heterozygosity but lacks a complete sexual cycle. However, sequences of specific chromosomes were not determined.
Supercontigs from Assembly 19 (183, representing 98.4% of the sequence) were assigned to individual chromosomes purified by pulse-field gel electrophoresis and hybridized to DNA microarrays. Nine Assembly 19 supercontigs were found to contain markers from two different chromosomes. Assembly 21 contains the sequence of each of the eight chromosomes and was determined using a synteny analysis with preliminary versions of the Candida dubliniensis genome assembly, bioinformatics, a sequence tagged site (STS) map of overlapping fosmid clones, and an optical map. The orientation and order of the contigs on each chromosome, repeat regions too large to be covered by a sequence run, such as the ribosomal DNA cluster and the major repeat sequence, and telomere placement were determined using the STS map. Sequence gaps were closed by PCR and sequencing of the products. The overall assembly was compared to an optical map; this identified some misassembled contigs and gave a size estimate for each chromosome.
Assembly 21 reveals an ancient chromosome fusion, a number of small internal duplications followed by inversions, and a subtelomeric arrangement, including a new gene family, the TLO genes. Correlations of position with relatedness of gene families imply a novel method of dispersion. The sequence of the individual chromosomes of C. albicans raises interesting biological questions about gene family creation and dispersion, subtelomere organization, and chromosome evolution.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Candida albicans contains a functional mating response pathway that is similar to the well-studied system of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We have characterized a regulator of G protein signaling (RGS) homolog in C. albicans with sequence similarity to the SST2 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Disruption of this gene, which had been designated SST2, causes an opaque MTLa/MTLa derivative of strain SC5314 to show hypersensitivity to the C. albicans alpha-factor. This hypersensitivity generates an enhanced cell cycle arrest detected in halo assays but reduces the overall mating efficiency of the cells. Transcriptional profiling of the pheromone-regulated gene expression in the sst2 mutant shows a pattern of gene induction similar to that observed in wild-type cells, but the responsiveness is heightened. This involvement of an RGS in the sensitivity to pheromone is consistent with the prediction that the mating response pathway in C. albicans requires the activation of a heterotrimeric G protein.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent sequencing and assembly of the genome for the fungal pathogen Candida albicans used simple automated procedures for the identification of putative genes. We have reviewed the entire assembly, both by hand and with additional bioinformatic resources, to accurately map and describe 6,354 genes and to identify 246 genes whose original database entries contained sequencing errors (or possibly mutations) that affect their reading frame. Comparison with other fungal genomes permitted the identification of numerous fungus-specific genes that might be targeted for antifungal therapy. We also observed that, compared to other fungi, the protein-coding sequences in the C. albicans genome are especially rich in short sequence repeats. Finally, our improved annotation permitted a detailed analysis of several multigene families, and comparative genomic studies showed that C. albicans has a far greater catabolic range, encoding respiratory Complex 1, several novel oxidoreductases and ketone body degrading enzymes, malonyl-CoA and enoyl-CoA carriers, several novel amino acid degrading enzymes, a variety of secreted catabolic lipases and proteases, and numerous transporters to assimilate the resulting nutrients. The results of these efforts will ensure that the Candida research community has uniform and comprehensive genomic information for medical research as well as for future diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
More information: http://www.cancer-systemsbiology.org/.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Candida albicans, the single most frequently isolated human fungal pathogen, was thought to be asexual until the recent discovery of the mating-type-like locus (MTL). Homozygous MTL strains were constructed and shown to mate. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that opaque-phase cells are more efficient in mating than white-phase cells. The similarity of the genes involved in the mating pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and C. albicans includes at least one gene (KEX2) that is involved in the processing of the alpha mating pheromone in the two yeasts. Taking into account this similarity, we searched the C. albicans genome for sequences that would encode the alpha pheromone gene. Here we report the isolation and characterization of the gene MFalpha1, which codes for the precursor of the alpha mating pheromone in C. albicans. Two active alpha-peptides, 13 and 14 amino acids long, would be generated after the precursor molecule is processed in C. albicans. To examine the role of this gene in mating, we constructed an mfalpha1 null mutant of C. albicans. The mfalpha1 null mutant fails to mate as MTLalpha, while MTLa mfalpha1 cells are still mating competent. Experiments performed with the synthetic alpha-peptides show that they are capable of inducing growth arrest, as demonstrated by halo tests, and also induce shmooing in MTLa cells of C. albicans. These peptides are also able to complement the mating defect of an MTLalpha kex2 mutant strain when added exogenously, thereby confirming their roles as alpha mating pheromones.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability of the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans to switch from a yeast to a hyphal morphology in response to external signals is implicated in its pathogenicity. We used glass DNA microarrays to investigate the transcription profiles of 6333 predicted ORFs in cells undergoing this transition and their responses to changes in temperature and culture medium. We have identified several genes whose transcriptional profiles are similar to those of known virulence factors that are modulated by the switch to hyphal growth caused by addition of serum and a 37 degrees C growth temperature. Time course analysis of this transition identified transcripts that are induced before germ tube initiation and shut off later in the developmental process. A strain deleted for the Efg1p and Cph1p transcription factors is defective in hyphae formation, and its response to serum and increased temperature is almost identical to the response of a wild-type strain grown at 37 degrees C in the absence of serum. Thus Efg1p and Cph1p are needed for the activation of the transcriptional program that is induced by the presence of serum.
Molecular Biology of the Cell 11/2002; 13(10):3452-65. · 4.55 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cdc42p is a member of the RAS superfamily of GTPases and plays an essential role in polarized growth in many eukaryotic cells. We cloned the Candida albicans CaCDC42 by functional complementation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and analyzed its function in C. albicans. A double deletion of CaCDC42 was made in a C. albicans strain containing CaCDC42 under the control of the PCK1 promoter. When expression of the heterologous copy of CaCDC42 was repressed in this strain, the cells ceased proliferation. These arrested cells were large, round, and unbudded and contained predominantly two nuclei. The PCK1-mediated overexpression of wild-type CaCdc42p had no effect on cells. However, in cells overexpressing CaCdc42p containing the dominant-negative D118A substitution, proliferation was blocked and the arrested cells were large, round, unbudded, and multinucleated, similar to the phenotype of the cdc42 double-deletion strain. Cells overexpressing CaCdc42p containing the hyperactive G12V substitution also ceased proliferation in yeast growth medium; in this case the arrested cells were multinucleated and multibudded. An intact CAAX box is essential for the phenotypes associated with either CaCdc42p(G12V) or CaCdc42p(D118A) ectopic expression, suggesting that membrane attachment is involved in CaCdc42p function. In addition, the lethality caused by ectopic expression of CaCdc42p(G12V) was suppressed by deletion of CST20 but not by deletion of CaCLA4. CaCdc42p function was also examined under hypha-inducing conditions. Cdc42p depletion prior to hyphal induction trapped cells in a round, unbudded state, while depletion triggered at the same time as hyphal induction permitted the initiation of germ tubes that failed to be extended. Ectopic expression of either the G12V or D118A substitution protein modified hyphal formation in a CAAX box-dependent manner. Thus, CaCdc42p function appears important for polarized growth of both the yeast and hyphal forms of C. albicans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pathogenic fungus Candida albicans is capable of responding to a wide variety of environmental cues with a morphological transition from a budding yeast to a polarized filamentous form. We demonstrate that the Ras homologue of C. albicans, CaRas1p, is required for this morphological transition and thereby contributes to the development of pathogenicity. However, CaRas1p is not required for cellular viability. Deletion of both alleles of the CaRAS1 gene caused in vitro defects in morphological transition that were reversed by either supplementing the growth media with cAMP or overexpressing components of the filament-inducing mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascade. The induction of filament-specific secreted aspartyl proteinases encoded by the SAP4-6 genes was blocked in the mutant cells. The defects in filament formation were also observed in situ after phagocytosis of C. albicans cells in a macrophage cell culture assay and, in vivo, after infection of kidneys in a mouse model for systemic candidiasis. In the macrophage assay, the mutant cells were less resistant to phagocytosis. Moreover, the defects in filament formation were associated with reduced virulence in the mouse model. These results indicate that, in response to environmental cues, CaRas1p is required for the regulation of both a MAP kinase signalling pathway and a cAMP signalling pathway. CaRas1p-dependent activation of these pathways contributes to the pathogenicity of C. albicans cells through the induction of polarized morphogenesis. These findings elucidate a new medically relevant role for Ras in cellular morphogenesis and virulence in an important human infectious disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human fungal pathogen Candida albicans switches from a budding yeast form to a polarized hyphal form in response to various external signals. This morphogenetic switching has been implicated in the development of pathogenicity. We have cloned the CaCDC35 gene encoding C. albicans adenylyl cyclase by functional complementation of the conditional growth defect of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells with mutations in Ras1p and Ras2p. It has previously been shown that these Ras homologues regulate adenylyl cyclase in yeast. The C. albicans adenylyl cyclase is highly homologous to other fungal adenylyl cyclases but has less sequence similarity with the mammalian enzymes. C. albicans cells deleted for both alleles of CaCDC35 had no detectable cAMP levels, suggesting that this gene encodes the only adenylyl cyclase in C. albicans. The homozygous mutant cells were viable but grew more slowly than wild-type cells and were unable to switch from the yeast to the hyphal form under all environmental conditions that we analyzed in vitro. Moreover, this morphogenetic switch was completely blocked in mutant cells undergoing phagocytosis by macrophages. However, morphogenetic switching was restored by exogenous cAMP. On the basis of epistasis experiments, we propose that CaCdc35p acts downstream of the Ras homologue CaRas1p. These epistasis experiments also suggest that the putative transcription factor Efg1p and components of the hyphal-inducing MAP kinase pathway depend on the function of CaCdc35p in their ability to induce morphogenetic switching. Homozygous cacdc35 Delta cells were unable to establish vaginal infection in a mucosal membrane mouse model and were avirulent in a mouse model for systemic infections. These findings suggest that fungal adenylyl cyclases and other regulators of the cAMP signaling pathway may be useful targets for antifungal drugs.
Molecular Biology of the Cell 12/2001; 12(11):3631-43. · 4.55 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Misfolded proteins are recognized in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), transported back to the cytoplasm and degraded by the proteasome. Processing intermediates of N-linked oligosaccharides on incompletely folded glycoproteins have an important role in their folding/refolding, and also in their targeting to proteolytic degradation. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we have identified a gene coding for a non-essential protein that is homologous to mannosidase I (HTM1) and that is required for degradation of glycoproteins. Deletion of the HTM1 gene does not affect oligosaccharide trimming. However, deletion of HTM1 does reduce the rate of degradation of the mutant glycoproteins such as carboxypeptidase Y, ABC-transporter Pdr5-26p and oligosaccharyltransferase subunit Stt3-7p, but not of mutant Sec61-2p, a non-glycoprotein. Our results indicate that although Htm1p is not involved in processing of N-linked oligosaccharides, it is required for their proteolytic degradation. We propose that this mannosidase homolog is a lectin that recognizes Man8GlcNAc2 oligosaccharides that serve as signals in the degradation pathway.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In a screen for Candida albicans genes capable of supressing a ste20Delta mutation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a homologue of the exportin-encoding gene CRM1 was isolated. The CaCRM1 gene codes for a protein of 1079 amino acids with a predicted molecular weight of 124 029 and isoelectric point of 5.04. Crm1p from C. albicans displays significant amino acid sequence homology with Crm1p from Saccharomyces cerevisiae (65% identity, 74% similarity), Schizosaccharomyces pombe (55% identity, 66% similarity), Caenorhabditis elegans (45% identity, 57% similarity), and Homo sapiens (48% identity, 59% similarity). Interestingly, CaCRM1 encodes a threonine rather than a cysteine at position 533 in the conserved central region, suggesting that CaCrm1p is leptomycin B-insensitive, like S. cerevisiae Crm1p. CaCRM1 on a high copy vector can complement a thermosensitive allele of CRM1 (xpo1-1) in S. cerevisiae, showing that CaCrm1p and S. cerevisiae Crm1p are functionally conserved. Southern blot analysis suggests that CaCRM1 is present at a single locus within the C. albicans genome. The nucleotide sequence of the CaCRM1 gene has been deposited at GenBank under Accession No. AF178855.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The endoplasmic reticulum enzyme UDP-glucose glycoprotein:glucosyltransferase (UGGT) has the unique property of recognizing incompletely folded glycoproteins and, if they carry an N -linked Man(9)GlcNAc(2)oligosaccharide, of catalyzing the addition of a glucose residue from UDP-glucose. Using peptide sequence information, we have isolated the complete cDNA of rat liver UGGT and expressed it in insect cells. The cDNA specifies an open reading frame which codes for a protein of 1527 residues including an 18 amino acid signal peptide. The protein has a C-terminal tetrapeptide (HEEL) characteristic of endoplasmic reticulum luminal proteins. The purified recombinant enzyme shows the same preference for unfolded polypeptides with N -linked Man(9)GlcNAc(2)glycans as the enzyme purified from rat liver. A genetically engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain capable of producing glyco-proteins with Man(9)GlcNAc(2)core oligosaccharides was constructed and secreted acid phosphatase (G0-AcP) was purified. G0-AcP was used as an acceptor glycoprotein for UGGT and found to be a better substrate than the previously used soybean agglutinin and thyroglobulin. Recombinant rat UGGT has a K (m) of 44 microM for UDP-glucose. A proteolytic fragment of UGGT was found to retain enzymatic activity thus localizing the catalytic site of the enzyme to the C-terminal 37 kDa of the protein. Using site-directed mutagenesis and photoaffinity labeling, we have identified residues D1334, D1336, Q1429, and N1433 to be necessary for the catalytic activity of the enzyme.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serine/threonine protein kinases of the Ste20p/PAK family are highly conserved from yeast to man. These protein kinases have been implicated in the signaling from heterotrimeric G proteins to mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascades and to cytoskeletal components such as myosin-I. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Ste20p is involved in transmitting the mating-pheromone signal from the betagamma-subunits of a heterotrimeric G protein to a downstream MAP kinase cascade. We have previously shown that binding of the G-protein beta-subunit (Gbeta) to a short binding site in the non-catalytic carboxy-terminal region of Ste20p is essential fortransmitting the pheromone signal. In this study, we searched protein sequence databases for sequences that are similar to the Gbeta binding site in Ste20p. We identified a sequence motif with the consensus sequence S S L phi P L I/V x phi phi beta (x: any residue; phi: A, I, L, S, or T; beta: basic residues) that is solely present in members of Ste20p/PAK family protein kinases. We propose that this sequence motif, which we have designated GBB (Gbeta binding) motif, is specifically responsible for binding of Gbeta to Ste20p/PAK protein kinases in response to activation of heterotrimeric G protein coupled receptors. Thus, the GBB motif is a novel type of signaling domain that serves to link protein kinases of the Ste20p/PAK family to G protein coupled receptors.