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Genes Cells. 2009 May;14(5):659-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2443.2009.01297.x. Epub 2009 Apr 15.

Selfish prion of Rnq1 mutant in yeast.

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  • 1Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.


[PIN(+)] is a prion form of Rnq1 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is necessary for the de novo induction of a second prion, [PSI(+)]. We previously isolated a truncated form of Rnq1, named Rnq1Delta100, as a [PSI(+)]-eliminating factor in S. cerevisiae. Rnq1Delta100 deletes the N-terminal non-prion domain of Rnq1, and eliminates [PSI(+)] in [PIN(+)] yeast. Here we found that [PIN(+)] is transmissible to Rnq1Delta100 in the absence of full-length Rnq1, forming a novel prion variant [RNQ1Delta100(+)]. [RNQ1Delta100(+)] has similar [PIN(+)] properties as it stimulates the de novo induction of [PSI(+)] and is eliminated by the null hsp104Delta mutation, but not by Hsp104 overproduction. In contrast, [RNQ1Delta100(+)] inherits the inhibitory activity and hampers the maintenance of [PSI(+)] though less efficiently than [PIN(+)] made of Rnq1-Rnq1Delta100 co-aggregates. Interestingly, [RNQ1Delta100(+)] prion was eliminated by de novo [PSI(+)] induction. Thus, the [RNQ1Delta100(+)] prion demonstrates selfish activity to eliminate a heterologous prion in S. cerevisiae, showing the first instance of a selfish prion variant in living organisms.

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