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Eukaryot Cell. 2005 Jun;4(6):1116-24.

Constitutive signal transduction by mutant Ssy5p and Ptr3p components of the SPS amino acid sensor system in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Carlsberg Laboratory, Gamle Carlsberg Vej 10, DK-2500 Copenhagen Valby, Denmark.


Amino acids in the environment of Saccharomyces cerevisiae can transcriptionally activate a third of the amino acid permease genes through a signal that originates from the interaction between the extracellular amino acids and an integral plasma membrane protein, Ssy1p. Two plasma membrane-associated proteins, Ptr3p and Ssy5p, participate in the sensing, which results in cleavage of the transcription factors Stp1p and Stp2p, removing 10 kDa of the N terminus of each of them. This confers the transcription factors with the ability to gain access to the nucleus and activate transcription of amino acid permease genes. To extend our understanding of the role of Ptr3p and Ssy5p in this amino acid sensing process, we have isolated constitutive gain-of-function mutants in these two components by using a genetic screening in which potassium uptake is made dependent on amino acid signaling. Mutants which exhibit inducer-independent processing of Stp1p and activation of the amino acid permease gene AGP1 were obtained. For each component of the SPS complex, constitutive signaling by a mutant allele depended on the presence of wild-type alleles of the other two components. Despite the signaling in the absence of inducer, the processing of Stp1p was more complete in the presence of inducer. Dose response assays showed that the median effective concentration for Stp1p processing in the mutant cells was decreased; i.e., a lower inducer concentration is needed for signaling in the mutant cells. These results suggest that the three sensor components interact intimately in a complex rather than in separate reactions and support the notion that the three components function as a complex.

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