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Eur J Biochem. 1997 Dec 1;250(2):476-83.

Regulation of salt tolerance in fission yeast by a protein-phosphatase-Z-like Ser/Thr protein phosphatase.

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Dept. Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain.


In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Na+ efflux is mediated by the Ena1 ATPase, and the expression of the ENA1 gene is regulated by the Ppz1 and Ppz2 Ser/Thr protein phosphatases. On the contrary, in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, effective output of Na+ is attributed to the H+/Na+ antiporter encoded by the sod2 gene. We have isolated a S. pombe gene (pzh1) that encodes a 515-amino-acid protein that is 78% identical, from residue 193 to the COOH terminus, to the PPZ1 and PPZ2 gene products. Bacterially expressed Pzh1p shows enzymatic characteristics virtually identical to those of recombinant Ppz1p. When expressed in high-copy number from the PPZ1 promoter, the pzh1 ORF rescues the caffeine-induced lytic defect and slightly decreases the high salt tolerance of S. cerevisiae ppz1delta mutants. Disruption of pzh1 yields viable S. pombe cells and has virtually no effect on tolerance to caffeine or osmotic stress, but it renders the cells highly tolerant to Na+ and Li+, and hypersensitive to K+. Although lack of pzh1 results in a 2-3-fold increase in sod2 mRNA, the pzh1 mutation significantly increases salt tolerance in the absence of the sod2 gene, suggesting that the phosphatase also regulates a Sod2-independent mechanism. Therefore, the finding of a PPZ-like protein phosphatase involved in the regulation of salt tolerance in fission yeast reveals unexpected aspects of cation homeostasis in this organism.

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