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Yeast. 2004 Oct 15;21(13):1121-31.

An in vitro assay for (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan synthesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Swammerdaam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018 WV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


(1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan is a key cell wall component of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans. Many genes are known to affect the levels or structure of this glucan, but their roles and a molecular description of the synthesis of (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan remain to be established and a method to measure (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan synthase activity in vitro would provide an enabling tool. Here, conditions for the detection of in vitro synthesis of this polymer are described. Crude membrane preparations from S. cerevisiae were isolated, and incubated in the presence of UDP-glucose and GTP. With anti-(1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan-specific antibodies, a time-dependent increase in the amount of this glucan was demonstrated in a dot-blot assay, or through an inhibition enzyme immunoassay. Antibody specificity was validated by competition experiments using pustulan, a (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan, laminarin, a (1 --> 3)-beta-D-glucan, yeast mannan and glycogen. The identity of the reaction product was also demonstrated by its sensitivity to a recombinant (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucanase. Extracts from mutants in 10 genes with a wide range of altered cell wall (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan levels were assayed for in vitro synthesis of the polymer. A strong correlation of in vitro synthase activity with in vivo glucan levels was found, providing genetic support for the specificity of the assay. The basis for the GTP-dependence of the synthase reaction was studied. Extracts from rho2, rho3, rho4 and rho5 null mutants had wild-type in vitro activity. In contrast, Rho1p overproduction led to increased in vitro synthesis, implicating Rho1p in the regulation of (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan synthesis.

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