Life Sciences (general)
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Starvation for nitrogen in the absence of a fermentable carbon source causes diploid Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells to leave vegetative growth, enter meiosis, and sporulate; the former nutritional condition also induces expression of the YVH1 gene that encodes a protein phosphatase. This correlation prompted us to determine whether the Yvh1p phosphatase was a participant in the network that controls the onset of meiosis and sporulation. We found that expression of the IME2 gene, encoding a protein kinase homologue required for meiosis- and sporulation-specific gene expression, is decreased in a yvh1 disrupted strain. We also observed a decrease, albeit a smaller one, in the expression of IME1 which encodes an activator protein required for IME2 expression. Under identical experimental conditions, expression of the MCK1 and IME4 genes (which promote sporulation but do not require Ime1p for expression) was not affected. These results demonstrate the specificity of the yvh1 disruption phenotype. They suggest that decreased steady-state levels of IME1 and IME2 mRNA were not merely the result of non-specific adverse affects on nucleic acid metabolism caused by the yvh1 disruption. Sporulation of a homozygous yvh1 disruption mutant was delayed and less efficient overall compared to an isogenic wild-type strain, a result which correlates with decreased IME1 and IME2 gene expression. We also observed that expression of the PTP2 tyrosine phosphatase gene (a negative regulator of the osmosensing MAP kinase cascade), but not the PTP1 gene (also encoding a tyrosine phosphatase) was induced by nitrogen-starvation. Although disruption of PTP2 alone did not demonstrably affect sporulation or IME2 gene expression, sporulation was decreased more in a yvh1, ptp2 double mutant than in a yvh1 single mutant; it was nearly abolished in the double mutant. These data suggest that the YVH1 and PTP2 encoded phosphatases likely participate in the control network regulating meiosis and sporulation. Expression of YVH1 and PTP2 was not affected by nitrogen source quality (asparagine compared to proline) suggesting that nitrogen starvation-induced YVH1 and PTP2 expression and sensitivity to nitrogen catabolite repression are on two different branches of the nitrogen regulatory network.
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