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Eukaryot Cell. 2013 Feb;12(2):368-77. doi: 10.1128/EC.00277-12. Epub 2012 Dec 21.

Control of polarized growth by the Rho family GTPase Rho4 in budding yeast: requirement of the N-terminal extension of Rho4 and regulation by the Rho GTPase-activating protein Bem2.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Virology, College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, People's Republic of China.


In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Rho4 GTPase partially plays a redundant role with Rho3 in the control of polarized growth, as deletion of RHO4 and RHO3 together, but not RHO4 alone, caused lethality and a loss of cell polarity at 30°C. Here, we show that overexpression of the constitutively active rho4(Q131L) mutant in an rdi1Δ strain caused a severe growth defect and generated large, round, unbudded cells, suggesting that an excess of Rho4 activity could block bud emergence. We also generated four temperature-sensitive rho4-Ts alleles in a rho3Δ rho4Δ strain. These mutants showed growth and morphological defects at 37°C. Interestingly, two rho4-Ts alleles contain mutations that cause amino acid substitutions in the N-terminal region of Rho4. Rho4 possesses a long N-terminal extension that is unique among the six Rho GTPases in the budding yeast but is common in Rho4 homologs in other yeasts and filamentous fungi. We show that the N-terminal extension plays an important role in Rho4 function since rho3Δ rho4(Δ)(61) cells expressing truncated Rho4 lacking amino acids (aa) 1 to 61 exhibited morphological defects at 24°C and a growth defect at 37°C. Furthermore, we show that Rho4 interacts with Bem2, a Rho GTPase-activating protein (RhoGAP) for Cdc42 and Rho1, by yeast two-hybrid, bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC), and glutathione S-transferase (GST) pulldown assays. Bem2 specifically interacts with the GTP-bound form of Rho4, and the interaction is mediated by its RhoGAP domain. Overexpression of BEM2 aggravates the defects of rho3Δ rho4 mutants. These results suggest that Bem2 might be a novel GAP for Rho4.

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