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Eukaryot Cell. 2012 Jul;11(7):952-60. doi: 10.1128/EC.00082-12. Epub 2012 May 11.

Topological and mutational analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Fks1.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Fks1, with orthologs in nearly all fungi as well as plants and many protists, plays a central role in fungal cell wall formation as the putative catalytic component of β-1,3-glucan synthase. It is also the target for an important new antifungal group, the echinocandins, as evidenced by the localization of resistance-conferring mutations to Fks1 hot spots 1, 2, and 3 (residues 635 to 649, 1354 to 1361, and 690 to 700, respectively). Since Fks1 is an integral membrane protein and echinocandins are cyclic peptides with lipid tails, Fks1 topology is key to understanding its function and interaction with echinocandins. We used hemagglutinin (HA)-Suc2-His4C fusions to C-terminally truncated Saccharomyces cerevisiae Fks1 to experimentally define its topology and site-directed mutagenesis to test function of selected residues. Of the 15 to 18 transmembrane helices predicted in silico for Fks1 from evolutionarily diverse fungi, 13 were experimentally confirmed. The N terminus (residues 1 to 445) is cytosolic and the C terminus (residues 1823 to 1876) external; both are essential to Fks1 function. The cytosolic central domain (residues 715 to 1294) includes newly recognized homology to glycosyltransferases, and residues potentially involved in substrate UDP-glucose binding and catalysis are essential. All three hot spots are external, with hot spot 1 adjacent to and hot spot 3 largely embedded within the outer leaflet of the membrane. This topology suggests a model in which echinocandins interact through their lipid tails with hot spot 3 and through their cyclic peptides with hot spots 1 and 2.

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