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Mol Cell Biol. Aug 1989; 9(8): 3155–3165.
PMCID: PMC362359

AG alpha 1 is the structural gene for the Saccharomyces cerevisiae alpha-agglutinin, a cell surface glycoprotein involved in cell-cell interactions during mating.


We have cloned the alpha-agglutinin structural gene, AG alpha 1, by the isolation of alpha-specific agglutination-defective mutants, followed by isolation of a complementing plasmid. Independently isolated alpha-specific agglutination-defective mutations were in a single complementation group, consistent with biochemical results indicating that the alpha-agglutinin is composed of a single polypeptide. Mapping results suggested that the complementation group identified by these mutants is allelic to the ag alpha 1 mutation identified previously. Expression of AG alpha 1 RNA was alpha specific and inducible by a-factor. Sequences similar to the consensus sequences for positive control by MAT alpha 1 and pheromone induction were found upstream of the AG alpha 1 initiation codon. The AG alpha 1 gene could encode a 650-amino-acid protein with a putative signal sequence, 12 possible N-glycosylation sites, and a high proportion of serine and threonine residues, all of which are features expected for the alpha-agglutinin sequence. Disruption of the AG alpha 1 gene resulted in failure to express alpha-agglutinin and loss of cellular agglutinability in alpha cells. An Escherichia coli fusion protein containing 229 amino acids of the AG alpha 1 sequence was recognized by an anti-alpha-agglutinin antibody. In addition, the ability of this antibody to inhibit agglutination was prevented by this fusion protein. These results indicate that AG alpha 1 encodes alpha-agglutinin. Features of the AG alpha 1 gene product suggest that the amino-terminal half of the protein contains the a-agglutinin binding domain and that the carboxy-terminal half contains a cell surface localization domain, possibly including a glycosyl phosphatidylinositol anchor.

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