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J Biol Chem. 2011 Nov 11;286(45):38924-31. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.272419. Epub 2011 Aug 9.

Methionine oxidation of Sup35 protein induces formation of the [PSI+] prion in a yeast peroxiredoxin mutant.

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  • 1Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, the Michael Smith Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PT, United Kingdom.


The frequency with which the yeast [PSI(+)] prion form of Sup35 arises de novo is controlled by a number of genetic and environmental factors. We have previously shown that in cells lacking the antioxidant peroxiredoxin proteins Tsa1 and Tsa2, the frequency of de novo formation of [PSI(+)] is greatly elevated. We show here that Tsa1/Tsa2 also function to suppress the formation of the [PIN(+)] prion form of Rnq1. However, although oxidative stress increases the de novo formation of both [PIN(+)] and [PSI(+)], it does not overcome the requirement of cells being [PIN(+)] to form the [PSI(+)] prion. We use an anti-methionine sulfoxide antibody to show that methionine oxidation is elevated in Sup35 during oxidative stress conditions. Abrogating Sup35 methionine oxidation by overexpressing methionine sulfoxide reductase (MSRA) prevents [PSI(+)] formation, indicating that Sup35 oxidation may underlie the switch from a soluble to an aggregated form of Sup35. In contrast, we were unable to detect methionine oxidation of Rnq1, and MSRA overexpression did not affect [PIN(+)] formation in a tsa1 tsa2 mutant. The molecular basis of how yeast and mammalian prions form infectious amyloid-like structures de novo is poorly understood. Our data suggest a causal link between Sup35 protein oxidation and de novo [PSI(+)] prion formation.

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