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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mutations in the yeast KEX2 gene cause a Vma(-)-like phenotype: a possible role for the Kex2 endoprotease in vacuolar acidification.

Mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that lack vacuolar proton-translocating ATPase (V-ATPase) activity show a well-defined set of Vma- (stands for vacuolar membrane ATPase activity) phenotypes that include pH-conditional growth, increased calcium sensitivity, and the inability to grow on nonfermentable carbon sources. By screening based on these phenotypes and the inability of vma mutants to accumulate the lysosomotropic dye quinacrine in their vacuoles, five new vma complementation groups (vma41 to vma45) were identified. The VMA45 gene was cloned by complementation of the pH-conditional growth of the vma45-1 mutant strain and shown to be allelic to the previously characterized KEX2 gene, which encodes a serine endoprotease localized to the late Golgi compartment. Both vma45-1 mutants and kex2 null mutants exhibit the full range of Vma- growth phenotypes and show no vacuolar accumulation of quinacrine, indicating loss of vacuolar acidification in vivo. However, immunoprecipitation of the V-ATPase from both strains under nondenaturing conditions revealed no defect in assembly of the enzyme, vacuolar vesicles isolated from a kex2 null mutant showed levels of V-ATPase activity and proton pumping comparable to those of wild-type cells, and the V-ATPase complex purified from kex2 null mutants was structurally indistinguishable from that of wild-type cells. The results suggest that kex2 mutations exert an inhibitory effect on the V-ATPase in the intact cell but that the ATPase is present in the mutant strains in a fully assembled state, potentially capable of full enzymatic activity. This is the first time a mutation of this type has been identified.[1]


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