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Mol Biol Cell. 2010 May 1;21(9):1609-19. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E09-11-0923. Epub 2010 Mar 10.

Yeast Mpk1 cell wall integrity mitogen-activated protein kinase regulates nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of the Swi6 transcriptional regulator.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


The yeast SBF transcription factor is a heterodimer comprised of Swi4 and Swi6 that has a well defined role in cell cycle-specific transcription. SBF serves a second function in the transcriptional response to cell wall stress in which activated Mpk1 mitogen-activated protein kinase of the cell wall integrity signaling pathway forms a complex with Swi4, the DNA binding subunit of SBF, conferring upon Swi4 the ability to bind DNA and activate transcription of FKS2. Although Mpk1-Swi4 complex formation and transcriptional activation of FKS2 does not require Mpk1 catalytic activity, Swi6 is phosphorylated by Mpk1 and must be present in the Mpk1-Swi4 complex for transcriptional activation of FKS2. Here, we find that Mpk1 regulates Swi6 nucleocytoplasmic shuttling in a biphasic manner. First, formation of the Mpk1-Swi4 complex recruits Swi6 to the nucleus for transcriptional activation. Second, Mpk1 negatively regulates Swi6 by phosphorylation on Ser238, which inhibits nuclear entry. Ser238 neighbors a nuclear localization signal (NLS) whose function is blocked by phosphorylation at Ser238 in a manner similar to the regulation by Cdc28 of another Swi6 NLS, revealing a mechanism for the integration of multiple signals to a single endpoint. Finally, the Kap120 beta-importin binds the Mpk1-regulated Swi6 NLS but not the Cdc28-regulated NLS.

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