Prion-Dependent Lethality of sup45 Mutants in Saccharomyces cerevisiae


In yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, translation termination factors eRF1 (Sup45) and eRF3 (Sup35) are encoded by essential genes SUP45 and SUP35, respectively. Heritable aggregation of Sup35 results in formation of the yeast prion [PSI+]. It is known that combination of [PSI+] with some mutant alleles of the SUP35 or SUP45 genes in one and the same haploid yeast cell causes synthetic lethality. In this study, we perform detailed analysis of synthetic lethality between various sup45 nonsense and missense mutations on one hand, and different variants of [PSI+] on the other hand. Synthetic lethality with sup45 mutations was detected for [PSI+] variants of different stringencies. Moreover, we demonstrate for the first time that in some combinations, synthetic lethality is dominant and occurs at the postzygotic stage after only a few cell divisions. The tRNA suppressor SUQ5 counteracts the prion-dependent lethality of the nonsense alleles but not of the missense alleles of SUP45, indicating that the lethal effect is due to the depletion of Sup45. Synthetic lethality is also suppressed in the presence of the C-proximal fragment of Sup35 (Sup35C) that lacks the prion domain and can not be included into the prion aggregates. Remarkably, the production of Sup35C in a sup45 mutant strain is also accompanied by an increase in the Sup45 levels, suggesting that translationally active Sup35 up-regulates Sup45 or protects it from degradation.

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Prion-Dependent Lethality of sup45 Mutants in Saccharomyces cerevisiae