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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Mar 3;95(5):2400-5.

Overexpression of the SUP45 gene encoding a Sup35p-binding protein inhibits the induction of the de novo appearance of the [PSI+] prion.

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  • 1Laboratory for Molecular Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607, USA.


[PSI+], a non-Mendelian element found in some strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is presumed to be the manifestation of a self-propagating prion conformation of eRF3 (Sup35p). Translation termination factor eRF3 enhances the activity of release factor eRF1 (Sup45p). As predicted by the prion model, overproduction of Sup35p induces the de novo appearance of [PSI+]. However, another non-Mendelian determinant, [PIN+], is required for this induction. We now show that SUP45 overexpression inhibits the induction of [PSI+] by Sup35p overproduction in [PIN+] strains, but has no effect on the propagation of [PSI+] or on the [PIN] status of the cells. We also show that SUP45 overexpression counteracts the growth inhibition usually associated with overexpression of SUP35 in [PSI+] strains. We argue that excess Sup45p inhibits [PSI+] seed formation. Because Sup45p complexes with Sup35p, we hypothesize that excess Sup45p may sequester Sup35p, thereby reducing the opportunity for Sup35p conformational flips and/or self-interactions leading to prion formation. This in vivo yeast result is reminiscent of the in vitro finding by investigators of Alzheimer disease that apolipoprotein E inhibits amyloid nucleation, but does not reduce seeded growth of amyloid.

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