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Genetics. 2007 Feb;175(2):621-30. Epub 2006 Dec 6.

Importance of the Hsp70 ATPase domain in yeast prion propagation.

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  • 1Department of Biology, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland.


The Saccharomyces cerevisiae non-Mendelian genetic element [PSI+] is the prion form of the translation termination factor Sup35p. The ability of [PSI+] to propagate efficiently has been shown previously to depend upon the action of protein chaperones. In this article we describe a genetic screen that identifies an array of mutants within the two major cytosolic Hsp70 chaperones of yeast, Ssa1p and Ssa2p, which impair the propagation of [PSI+]. All but one of the mutants was located within the ATPase domain of Hsp70, which highlights the important role of regulation of Hsp70-Ssa ATP hydrolysis in prion propagation. A subset of mutants is shown to alter Hsp70 function in a way that is distinct from that of previously characterized Hsp70 mutants that alter [PSI+] propagation and supports the importance of interdomain communication and Hsp70 interaction with nucleotide exchange factors in prion propagation. Analysis of the effects of Hsp70 mutants upon propagation of a second yeast prion [URE3] further classifies these mutants as having general or prion-specific inhibitory properties.

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