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Curr Genet. 2006 Jun;49(6):351-63. Epub 2006 Feb 4.

Control of MAPK signaling specificity by a conserved residue in the MEK-binding domain of the yeast scaffold protein Ste5.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco, 600 16th St, 94143-2200, USA.


The yeast kinase scaffold Ste5 has been proposed to prevent unwanted cross-talk between the pheromone response pathway and other MAPK cascades. Protein fusion experiments have demonstrated that covalently tethering signaling components to each other or to Ste5 can determine the outcome of signaling. However, these do not fully test the role of scaffolds in signaling specificity, since fusing components precludes differential dissociation of subpopulations. We performed a targeted genetic screen on STE5 and repeatedly identified recessive mutations in a conserved residue, E756, in the Ste7/MEK-binding domain that caused erroneous activation of the filamentation MAPK pathway by pheromone signaling. Mutant cells exhibited a shift in the MAPK activation pattern such that the filamentation MAPK Kss1 was predominately activated in response to pheromone. Velocity sedimentation studies showed that the mutant scaffold was defective in binding to a phosphorylated subpopulation of Ste7. Our data suggest that increased dissociation of activated Ste7 kinase from the mutant scaffold may cause the observed shift in MAPK activation from Fus3 to Kss1 and the resulting loss of specificity. Cross-talk in ste5-E756G cells was due to both increased activation of Kss1 and reduced Fus3-dependent degradation of the filamentation pathway transcription factor Tec1. These studies demonstrate a role for an endogenous scaffold in signaling specificity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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