The activation and localization of the Rho-family GTPase Cdc42p at one pole of a cell is necessary for maintaining an axis of polarized growth in many animal and fungal cells. How the asymmetric distribution of this key regulator of polarized morphogenesis is maintained is not fully understood, though divergent models have emerged from a congruence of multiple studies, including one that posits a role for polarized secretion. Here we show with S. cerevisiae that Cdc42p associates with secretory vesicles in vivo.
Oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP)-related protein Kes1/ Osh4p is implicated in nonvesicular sterol transfer between membranes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, we found that Osh4p associated with exocytic vesicles that move from the mother cell into the bud, where Osh4p facilitated vesicle docking by the exocyst tethering complex at sites of polarized growth on the plasma membrane. Osh4p formed complexes with the small GTPases Cdc42p, Rho1p and Sec4p, and the exocyst complex subunit Sec6p, which was also required for Osh4p association with vesicles. Although Osh4p directly affected polarized exocytosis, its role in sterol trafficking was less clear. Contrary to what is predicted for a sterol-transfer protein, inhibition of sterol binding by the Osh4p Y97F mutation did not cause its inactivation. Rather, OSH4(Y97F) is a gain-of-function mutation that causes dominant lethality. We propose that in response to sterol binding and release Osh4p promotes efficient exocytosis through the co-ordinate regulation of Sac1p, a phosphoinositide 4-phosphate (PI4P) phosphatase, and the exocyst complex. These results support a model in which Osh4p acts as a sterol-dependent regulator of polarized vesicle transport, as opposed to being a sterol-transfer protein.
Deletion of the paralogs ZDS1 and ZDS2 in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae causes a mis-regulation of polarized cell growth. Here we show a function for these genes as regulators of the Swe1p (Wee1p) kinase-dependent G2/M checkpoint. We identified a conserved domain in the C-terminus of Zds2p consisting of amino acids 813-912 (hereafter referred to as ZH4 for Zds homology 4) that is required for regulation of Swe1p-dependent polarized bud growth. ZH4 is shown by protein affinity assays to be necessary and sufficient for interaction with Cdc55p, a regulatory subunit of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). We hypothesized that the Zds proteins are in a pathway that negatively regulates the Swe1p-dependent G2/M checkpoint via Cdc55p. Supporting this model, deletion of CDC55 rescues the aberrant bud morphology of a zds1?zds2? strain. We also show that expression of ZDS1 or ZDS2 from a strong galactose-inducible promoter can induce mitosis even when the Swe1p-dependent G2/M checkpoint is activated by mis-organization of the actin cytoskeleton. This negative regulation requires the CDC55 gene. Together these data indicate that the Cdc55p/Zds2p module has a function in the regulation of the Swe1p-dependent G2/M checkpoint.
Oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP) and OSBP-related proteins (ORPs) are a conserved family of soluble cytoplasmic proteins that can bind sterols, translocate between membrane compartments, and affect sterol trafficking. These properties make ORPs attractive candidates for lipid transfer proteins (LTPs) that directly mediate nonvesicular sterol transfer to the plasma membrane. To test whether yeast ORPs (the Osh proteins) are sterol LTPs, we studied endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-to-plasma membrane (PM) sterol transport in OSH deletion mutants lacking one, several, or all Osh proteins. In conditional OSH mutants, ER-PM ergosterol transport slowed approximately 20-fold compared with cells expressing a full complement of Osh proteins. Although this initial finding suggested that Osh proteins act as sterol LTPs, the situation is far more complex. Osh proteins have established roles in Rho small GTPase signaling. Osh proteins reinforce cell polarization and they specifically affect the localization of proteins involved in polarized cell growth such as septins, and the GTPases Cdc42p, Rho1p, and Sec4p. In addition, Osh proteins are required for a specific pathway of polarized secretion to sites of membrane growth, suggesting that this is how Osh proteins affect Cdc42p- and Rho1p-dependent polarization. Our findings suggest that Osh proteins integrate sterol trafficking and sterol-dependent cell signaling with the control of cell polarization.
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