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Mol Cell Biol. 1998 Jul;18(7):4053-69.

Spa2p interacts with cell polarity proteins and signaling components involved in yeast cell morphogenesis.

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Department of Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8103, USA.


The yeast protein Spa2p localizes to growth sites and is important for polarized morphogenesis during budding, mating, and pseudohyphal growth. To better understand the role of Spa2p in polarized growth, we analyzed regions of the protein important for its function and proteins that interact with Spa2p. Spa2p interacts with Pea2p and Bud6p (Aip3p) as determined by the two-hybrid system; all of these proteins exhibit similar localization patterns, and spa2Delta, pea2Delta, and bud6Delta mutants display similar phenotypes, suggesting that these three proteins are involved in the same biological processes. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments demonstrate that Spa2p and Pea2p are tightly associated with each other in vivo. Velocity sedimentation experiments suggest that a significant portion of Spa2p, Pea2p, and Bud6p cosediment, raising the possibility that these proteins form a large, 12S multiprotein complex. Bud6p has been shown previously to interact with actin, suggesting that the 12S complex functions to regulate the actin cytoskeleton. Deletion analysis revealed that multiple regions of Spa2p are involved in its localization to growth sites. One of the regions involved in Spa2p stability and localization interacts with Pea2p; this region contains a conserved domain, SHD-II. Although a portion of Spa2p is sufficient for localization of itself and Pea2p to growth sites, only the full-length protein is capable of complementing spa2 mutant defects, suggesting that other regions are required for Spa2p function. By using the two-hybrid system, Spa2p and Bud6p were also found to interact with components of two mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways important for polarized cell growth. Spa2p interacts with Ste11p (MAPK kinase [MEK] kinase) and Ste7p (MEK) of the mating signaling pathway as well as with the MEKs Mkk1p and Mkk2p of the Slt2p (Mpk1p) MAPK pathway; for both Mkk1p and Ste7p, the Spa2p-interacting region was mapped to the N-terminal putative regulatory domain. Bud6p interacts with Ste11p. The MEK-interacting region of Spa2p corresponds to the highly conserved SHD-I domain, which is shown to be important for mating and MAPK signaling. spa2 mutants exhibit reduced levels of pheromone signaling and an elevated level of Slt2p kinase activity. We thus propose that Spa2p, Pea2p, and Bud6p function together, perhaps as a complex, to promote polarized morphogenesis through regulation of the actin cytoskeleton and signaling pathways.

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