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Genetics. 2011 Mar;187(3):771-83. doi: 10.1534/genetics.110.125567. Epub 2010 Dec 31.

A genome-wide enhancer screen implicates sphingolipid composition in vacuolar ATPase function in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403, USA.


The function of the vacuolar H(+)-ATPase (V-ATPase) enzyme complex is to acidify organelles; this process is critical for a variety of cellular processes and has implications in human disease. There are five accessory proteins that assist in assembly of the membrane portion of the complex, the V(0) domain. To identify additional elements that affect V-ATPase assembly, trafficking, or enzyme activity, we performed a genome-wide enhancer screen in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae with two mutant assembly factor alleles, VMA21 with a dysfunctional ER retrieval motif (vma21QQ) and vma21QQ in combination with voa1Δ, a nonessential assembly factor. These alleles serve as sensitized genetic backgrounds that have reduced V-ATPase enzyme activity. Genes were identified from a variety of cellular pathways including a large number of trafficking-related components; we characterized two redundant gene pairs, HPH1/HPH2 and ORM1/ORM2. Both sets demonstrated synthetic growth defects in combination with the vma21QQ allele. A loss of either the HPH or ORM gene pairs alone did not result in a decrease in vacuolar acidification or defects in V-ATPase assembly. While the Hph proteins are not required for V-ATPase function, Orm1p and Orm2p are required for full V-ATPase enzyme function. Consistent with the documented role of the Orm proteins in sphingolipid regulation, we have found that inhibition of sphingolipid synthesis alleviates Orm-related growth defects.

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