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Genetics. 2001 Mar;157(3):1117-40.

Overlapping functions of the yeast oxysterol-binding protein homologues.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720-3202, USA.

Erratum in

  • Genetics 2001 Jul;158(3):1387.


The Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome encodes seven homologues of the mammalian oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP), a protein implicated in lipid trafficking and sterol homeostasis. To determine the functions of the yeast OSBP gene family (OSH1-OSH7), we used a combination of genetics, genomics, and sterol lipid analysis to characterize OSH deletion mutants. All 127 combinations and permutations of OSH deletion alleles were constructed. Individual OSH genes were not essential for yeast viability, but the elimination of the entire gene family was lethal. Thus, the family members shared an essential function. In addition, the in vivo depletion of all Osh proteins disrupted sterol homeostasis. Like mutants that affect ergosterol production, the viable combinations of OSH deletion alleles exhibited specific sterol-related defects. Although none of the single OSH deletion mutants was defective for growth, gene expression profiles revealed that each mutant had a characteristic molecular phenotype. Therefore, each gene performed distinct nonessential functions and contributed to a common essential function. Our findings indicated that OSH genes performed a multitude of nonessential roles defined by specific subsets of the genes and that most shared at least one essential role potentially linked to changes in sterol lipid levels.

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