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Genes Dev. 1994 Feb 1;8(3):313-27.

The MAP kinase Fus3 associates with and phosphorylates the upstream signaling component Ste5.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


Activation of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae MAP kinase Fus3 is thought to occur via a linear pathway involving the sequential action of three proteins: Ste5, a protein of unknown function, Ste11, a MAPKK kinase homolog, and Ste7, a MAPK kinase homolog which phosphorylates and activates Fus3. In this report, we present evidence for a novel mechanism of Fus3 activation that involves a direct association with Ste5, a protein not predicted to interact with Fus3. First, overexpression of Ste5 suppresses fus3 point mutations in an allele-specific manner and increases Fus3 kinase activity in vitro. Second, Ste5 associates with Fus3 in vivo as demonstrated by the two-hybrid system and by two methods of copurification. Third, Ste5 and Fus3 associate prior to pheromone stimulation even when Fus3 is inactive, and in strains lacking Ste7 and Ste11. Fourth Ste5 is phosphorylated by Fus3 in purified complexes and copurifies with an additional protein kinase(s). These observations suggest the possibility that Ste5 promotes signal transduction by tethering Fus3 to its activating protein kinase(s).

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