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Mol Cell Biol. 1993 Jul;13(7):4039-48.

SKN1 and KRE6 define a pair of functional homologs encoding putative membrane proteins involved in beta-glucan synthesis.

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Biology Department, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


KRE6 encodes a predicted type II membrane protein which, when disrupted, results in a slowly growing, killer toxin-resistant mutant possessing half the normal level of a structurally wild-type cell wall (1-->6)-beta-glucan (T. Roemer and H. Bussey, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88:11295-11299, 1991). The mutant phenotype and structure of the KRE6 gene product, Kre6p, suggest that it may be a beta-glucan synthase component, implying that (1-->6)-beta-glucan synthesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is functionally redundant. To examine this possibility, we screened a multicopy genomic library for suppression of both the slow-growth and killer resistance phenotypes of a kre6 mutant and identified SKN1, which encodes a protein sharing 66% overall identity to Kre6p. SKN1 suppresses kre6 null alleles in a dose-dependent manner, though disruption of the SKN1 locus has no effect on killer sensitivity, growth, or (1-->6)-beta-glucan levels. skn1 kre6 double disruptants, however, showed a dramatic reduction in both (1-->6)-beta-glucan levels and growth rate compared with either single disruptant. Moreover, the residual (1-->6)-beta-glucan polymer in skn1 kre6 double mutants is smaller in size and altered in structure. Since single disruptions of these genes lead to structurally wild-type (1-->6)-beta-glucan polymers, Kre6p and Skn1p appear to function independently, possibly in parallel, in (1-->6)-beta-glucan biosynthesis.

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