The Yeast Prion [SWI+] Abolishes Multicellular Growth by Triggering Conformational Changes of Multiple Regulators Required for Flocculin Gene Expression

Zhiqiang Du, Ying Zhang, Liming Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although transcription factors are prevalent among yeast prion proteins, the role of prion-mediated transcriptional regulation remains elusive. Here, we show that the yeast prion [SWI+] abolishes flocculin (FLO) gene expression and results in a complete loss of multicellularity. Further investigation demonstrates that besides Swi1, multiple other proteins essential for FLO expression, including Mss11, Sap30, and Msn1 also undergo conformational changes and become inactivated in [SWI+] cells. Moreover, the asparagine-rich region of Mss11 can exist as prion-like aggregates specifically in [SWI+] cells, which are SDS resistant, heritable, and curable, but become metastable after separation from [SWI+]. Our findings thus reveal a prion-mediated mechanism through which multiple regulators in a biological pathway can be inactivated. In combination with the partial loss-of-function phenotypes of [SWI+] cells on non-glucose sugar utilization, our data therefore demonstrate that a prion can influence distinct traits differently through multi-level regulations, providing insights into the biological roles of prions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2865-2878
Number of pages14
JournalCell reports
Volume13
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 29 2015

Keywords

  • SWI/SNF
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Swi1
  • amyloids
  • filamentous growth
  • flocculin
  • multicellularity
  • prion
  • protein conformation change
  • protein-aggregation
  • yeast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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