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J Biol Chem. 1995 Jun 2;270(22):13036-41.

The PPZ protein phosphatases are important determinants of salt tolerance in yeast cells.

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Departamento de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Facultat de Veterinària, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain.


Protein phosphatases PPZ1 and PPZ2 represent a novel form of Ser/Thr phosphatases structurally related to type 1 phosphatases and characterized by an unusual amino-terminal region. We have found that the deletion of PPZ1 gene results in increased tolerance to Na+ and Li+ cations. Simultaneous deletion of PPZ2 gene results in an additional increase in salt tolerance. After exposure to high concentration of Li+, the intracellular content of the cation was markedly decreased in ppz1 delta ppz2 delta mutants when compared to wild type cells. No significant differences were observed between both strains when the Li+ influx was measured, but ppz1 delta ppz2 delta mutants eliminated Li+ more efficiently than wild type cells. This can be explained by the fact that expression of the ENA1 gene, which encodes the major component of the efflux system for these cations, is strongly increased in ppz1 delta ppz2 delta cells. As expected, the disruption of the PPZ genes did not complement the characteristic hypersensitivity for Na+ and Li+ of a ena1 delta strain. The lack of protein phosphatase 2B (calcineurin) has been found to decrease salt resistance by reducing the expression of the ENA1 gene. We have observed that the disruption of the PPZ genes substantially enhances the resistance of the hypersensitive calcineurin-deficient mutants. Since PPZ phosphatases have been found to be functionally related to the protein kinase C/mitogen-activated kinase pathway, we have tested bck1 or mpk1/slt2 deletion mutants and found that they do not display altered salt sensitivity. However, disruption of PPZ1 fails to increase salt resistance in a mpk1/slt2 background. In conclusion, we postulate the existence in yeast of a novel PPZ-mediated pathway involved in salt homeostasis that is opposite to and independent of the recently described calcineurin-mediated pathway.

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