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Nucleic Acids Res. 2007;35(20):6895-903. Epub 2007 Oct 11.

Sinefungin resistance of Saccharomyces cerevisiae arising from Sam3 mutations that inactivate the AdoMet transporter or from increased expression of AdoMet synthase plus mRNA cap guanine-N7 methyltransferase.

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  • 1Molecular Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute and Microbiology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY 10065, USA.


The S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) analog sinefungin is a natural product antibiotic that inhibits nucleic acid methyltransferases and arrests the growth of unicellular eukarya and eukaryal viruses. The basis for the particular sensitivity of fungi and protozoa to sinefungin is not known. Here we report the isolation and characterization of spontaneous sinefungin-resistant mutants of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In all cases, sinefungin resistance was attributable to a loss-of-function mutation in Sam3, the yeast high-affinity AdoMet transporter. Overexpression of wild-type Sam3 increased the sensitivity of yeast to growth inhibition by sinefungin. Thus, Sam3 is a tunable determinant of sinefungin potency. The shared ability of protozoan parasites to import AdoMet might determine sinefungin's anti-infective spectrum. Insights to the intracellular action of sinefungin stem from the finding that increased gene dosage of yeast AdoMet synthase plus cap guanine-N7 methyltransferase afforded greater resistance to sinefungin than either enzyme alone. These results are consistent with the proposal that mRNA cap methylation is a principal target of sinefungin's bioactivity.

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