Membrane-bound organelles play important, frequently essential, roles in cellular metabolism in eukaryotes. Hence, cells have evolved molecular mechanisms to closely monitor organelle dynamics and maintenance. The actin cytoskeleton plays a vital role in organelle transport and positioning across all eukaryotes. Studies in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. cerevisiae) revealed that a block in actomyosin-dependent transport affects organelle inheritance to daughter cells. Indeed, class V Myosins, Myo2, and Myo4, and many of their organelle receptors, have been identified as key factors in organelle inheritance. However, the spatiotemporal regulation of yeast organelle transport remains poorly understood. Using peroxisome inheritance as a proxy to study actomyosin-based organelle transport, we performed an automated genome-wide genetic screen in S. cerevisiae. We report that the spindle position checkpoint (SPOC) kinase Kin4 and, to a lesser extent, its paralog Frk1, regulates peroxisome transport, independent of their role in the SPOC. We show that Kin4 requires its kinase activity to function and that both Kin4 and Frk1 protect Inp2, the peroxisomal Myo2 receptor, from degradation in mother cells. In addition, vacuole inheritance is also affected in kin4/frk1-deficient cells, suggesting a common regulatory mechanism for actin-based transport for these two organelles in yeast. More broadly our findings have implications for understanding actomyosin-based transport in cells.
Many cellular functions are carried out by protein pairs or families, providing robustness alongside functional diversity. For such processes, it remains a challenge to map the degree of specificity versus promiscuity. Protein–protein interactions (PPIs) can be used to inform on these matters as they highlight cellular locals, regulation and, in cases where proteins affect other proteins - substrate range. However, methods to systematically study transient PPIs are underutilized. In this study, we create a novel approach to systematically compare stable or transient PPIs between two yeast proteins. Our approach, Cel-lctiv (CELlular biotin-Ligation for Capturing Transient Interactions in vivo), uses high-throughput pairwise proximity biotin ligation for comparing PPIs systematically and in vivo. As a proof of concept, we studied the homologous translocation pores Sec61 and Ssh1. We show how Cel-lctiv can uncover the unique substrate range for each translocon allowing us to pinpoint a specificity determinator driving interaction preference. More generally, this demonstrates how Cel-lctiv can provide direct information on substrate specificity even for highly homologous proteins.
The mechanism behind peroxisomal membrane protein targeting is still poorly understood, with only two yeast proteins believed to be involved and no consensus targeting sequence. Pex19 is thought to bind peroxisomal membrane proteins in the cytosol, and is subsequently recruited by Pex3 at the peroxisomal surface, followed by protein insertion via a mechanism that is as-yet-unknown. However, some peroxisomal membrane proteins still correctly sort in the absence of Pex3 or Pex19, suggesting that multiple sorting pathways exist. Here, we studied sorting of yeast peroxisomal ABC transporter Pxa1. Co-localisation analysis of Pxa1-GFP in a collection of 86 peroxisome-related deletion strains revealed that Pxa1 sorting requires Pex3 and Pex19, while none of the other 84 proteins tested were essential. To identify regions with peroxisomal targeting information in Pxa1, we developed a novel in vivo re-targeting assay, using a reporter consisting of the mitochondrial ABC transporter Mdl1 lacking its N-terminal mitochondrial targeting signal. Using this assay, we showed that the N-terminal 95 residues of Pxa1 are sufficient for retargeting this reporter to peroxisomes. Interestingly, truncated Pxa1 lacking residues 1–95 still localised to peroxisomes. This was confirmed via localisation of various Pxa1 truncation and deletion constructs. However, localisation of Pxa1 lacking residues 1–95 depended on the presence of its interaction partner Pxa2, indicating that this truncated protein does not contain a true targeting signal.
Dual localization or dual targeting refers to the phenomenon by which identical, or almost identical, proteins are localized to two (or more) separate compartments of the cell. From previous work in the field, we had estimated that a third of the mitochondrial proteome is dual-targeted to extra-mitochondrial locations and suggested that this abundant dual targeting presents an evolutionary advantage. Here, we set out to study how many additional proteins whose main activity is outside mitochondria are also localized, albeit at low levels, to mitochondria (eclipsed). To do this, we employed two complementary approaches utilizing the α-complementation assay in yeast to uncover the extent of such an eclipsed distribution: one systematic and unbiased and the other based on mitochondrial targeting signal (MTS) predictions. Using these approaches, we suggest 280 new eclipsed distributed protein candidates. Interestingly, these proteins are enriched for distinctive properties compared to their exclusively mitochondrial-targeted counterparts. We focus on one unexpected eclipsed protein family of the Triose-phosphate DeHydrogenases (TDH) and prove that, indeed, their eclipsed distribution in mitochondria is important for mitochondrial activity. Our work provides a paradigm of deliberate eclipsed mitochondrial localization, targeting and function, and should expand our understanding of mitochondrial function in health and disease.
Peroxisomes are organelles with vital functions in metabolism and their dysfunction is associated with human diseases. To fulfill their multiple roles, peroxisomes import nuclear-encoded matrix proteins, most carrying a peroxisomal targeting signal (PTS) 1. The receptor Pex5p recruits PTS1-proteins for import into peroxisomes; whether and how this process is posttranslationally regulated is unknown. Here, we identify 22 phosphorylation sites of Pex5p. Yeast cells expressing phospho-mimicking Pex5p-S507/523D (Pex5p(2D)) show decreased import of GFP with a PTS1. We show that the binding affinity between a PTS1-protein and Pex5p(2D) is reduced. An in vivo analysis of the effect of the phospho-mimicking mutant on PTS1-proteins revealed that import of most, but not all, cargos is affected. The physiological effect of the phosphomimetic mutations correlates with the binding affinity of the corresponding extended PTS1-sequences. Thus, we report a novel Pex5p phosphorylation-dependent mechanism for regulating PTS1-protein import into peroxisomes. In a broader view, this suggests that posttranslational modifications can function in fine-tuning the peroxisomal protein composition and, thus, cellular metabolism.
Identification of both stable and transient interactions is essential for understanding protein function and regulation. While assessing stable interactions is more straightforward, capturing transient ones is challenging. In recent years, sophisticated tools have emerged to improve transient interactor discovery, with many harnessing the power of evolved biotin ligases for proximity labelling. However, biotinylation-based methods have lagged behind in the model eukaryote, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, possibly due to the presence of several abundant, endogenously biotinylated proteins. In this study, we optimised robust biotin-ligation methodologies in yeast and increased their sensitivity by creating a bespoke technique for downregulating endogenous biotinylation, which we term ABOLISH (Auxin-induced BiOtin LIgase diminiSHing). We used the endoplasmic reticulum insertase complex (EMC) to demonstrate our approaches and uncover new substrates. To make these tools available for systematic probing of both stable and transient interactions, we generated five full-genome collections of strains in which every yeast protein is tagged with each of the tested biotinylation machineries, some on the background of the ABOLISH system. This comprehensive toolkit enables functional interactomics of the entire yeast proteome.
The highly conserved endoplasmic reticulum (ER) protein translocation channel contains one non-essential subunit, Sec61β/Sbh1, whose function is poorly understood so far. Its intrinsically unstructured cytosolic domain makes transient contact with ER-targeting sequences in the cytosolic channel vestibule and contains multiple phosphorylation sites suggesting a potential for regulating ER protein import. In a microscopic screen we show that 12% of a GFP-tagged secretory protein library depends on Sbh1 for translocation into the ER. Sbh1-dependent proteins had targeting sequences with less pronounced hydrophobicity and often no charge bias or an inverse charge bias which reduces their insertion efficiency into the Sec61 channel. We determined that mutating two N-terminal, proline-flanked phosphorylation sites in the Sbh1 cytosolic domain to alanine phenocopied the temperature-sensitivity of a yeast strain lacking SBH1 and its ortholog SBH2. The phosphorylation site mutations reduced translocation into the ER of a subset of Sbh1-dependent proteins, including enzymes whose concentration in the ER lumen is critical for ER proteostasis. In addition, we found that ER import of these proteins depended on the activity of the phospho-S/T-specific proline isomerase Ess1 (PIN1 in mammals). We conclude that Sbh1 promotes ER translocation of substrates with suboptimal targeting sequences and that its activity can be regulated by a conformational change induced by N-terminal phosphorylation.
Accurate and regulated protein targeting is crucial for cellular function and proteostasis. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, peroxisomal matrix proteins, which harboring a Peroxisomal Targeting Signal 1 (PTS1), can utilize two paralog targeting factors, Pex5 and Pex9, to target correctly. While both proteins are similar and recognize PTS1 signals, Pex9 targets only a subset of Pex5 cargo proteins. However, what defines this substrate selectivity remains uncovered. Here, we used unbiased screens alongside directed experiments to identify the properties underlying Pex9 targeting specificity. We find that the specificity of Pex9 is largely determined by the hydrophobic nature of the amino acid preceding the PTS1 tripeptide of its cargos. This is explained by structural modeling of the PTS1-binding cavities of the two factors showing differences in their surface hydrophobicity. Our work outlines the mechanism by which targeting specificity is achieved, enabling dynamic rewiring of the peroxisomal proteome in changing metabolic needs.
Actively maintained close appositions between organelle membranes, also known as contact sites, enable the efficient transfer of biomolecules between cellular compartments. Several such sites have been described as well as their tethering machineries. Despite these advances we are still far from a comprehensive understanding of the function and regulation of most contact sites. To systematically characterize contact site proteomes, we established a high-throughput screening approach in Saccharomyces cerevisiae based on co-localization imaging. We imaged split fluorescence reporters for six different contact sites, several of which are poorly characterized, on the background of 1165 strains expressing a mCherry-tagged yeast protein that has a cellular punctate distribution (a hallmark of contact sites), under regulation of the strong TEF2 promoter. By scoring both co-localization events and effects on reporter size and abundance, we discovered over 100 new potential contact site residents and effectors in yeast. Focusing on several of the newly identified residents, we identified three homologs of Vps13 and Atg2 that are residents of multiple contact sites. These proteins share their lipid transport domain, thus expanding this family of lipid transporters. Analysis of another candidate, Ypr097w, which we now call Lec1 (Lipid-droplet Ergosterol Cortex 1), revealed that this previously uncharacterized protein dynamically shifts between lipid droplets and the cell cortex, and plays a role in regulation of ergosterol distribution in the cell. Overall, our analysis expands the universe of contact site residents and effectors and creates a rich database to mine for new functions, tethers, and regulators.
mRNA level is controlled by factors that mediate both mRNA synthesis and decay, including the 5’ to 3’ exonuclease Xrn1. Here we show that nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of several yeast mRNA decay factors plays a key role in determining both mRNA synthesis and decay. Shuttling is regulated by RNA-controlled binding of the karyopherin Kap120 to two nuclear localization sequences (NLSs) in Xrn1, location of one of which is conserved from yeast to human. The decaying RNA binds and masks NLS1, establishing a link between mRNA decay and Xrn1 shuttling. Preventing Xrn1 import, either by deleting KAP120 or mutating the two Xrn1 NLSs, compromises transcription and, unexpectedly, also cytoplasmic decay, uncovering a cytoplasmic decay pathway that initiates in the nucleus. Most mRNAs are degraded by both pathways - the ratio between them represents a full spectrum. Importantly, Xrn1 shuttling is required for proper responses to environmental changes, e.g., fluctuating temperatures, involving proper changes in mRNA abundance and in cell proliferation rate.
Positive-strand RNA viruses assemble their viral replication complexes (VRCs) on specific host organelle membranes, yet it is unclear how viral replication proteins recognize and what motifs or domains in viral replication proteins determine their destinations. We show here that an amphipathic helix, helix B in replication protein 1a of brome mosaic virus (BMV), is necessary for 1a’s localization to the nuclear endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane where BMV assembles its VRCs. Helix B is also sufficient to target soluble proteins to the nuclear ER membrane in yeast and plant cells. We further show that an equivalent helix in several plant- and human-infecting viruses of the Alsuviricetes class targets fluorescent proteins to the organelle membranes where they form their VRCs, including ER, vacuole, and Golgi membranes. Our work reveals a conserved helix that governs the localization of VRCs among a group of viruses and points to a possible target for developing broad-spectrum antiviral strategies.
Seventy years following the discovery of peroxisomes, their complete proteome, the peroxi‐ome, remains undefined. Uncovering the peroxi‐ome is crucial for understanding peroxisomal activities and cellular metabolism. We used high‐content microscopy to uncover peroxisomal proteins in the model eukaryote – Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This strategy enabled us to expand the known peroxi‐ome by ~40% and paved the way for performing systematic, whole‐organellar proteome assays. By characterizing the sub‐organellar localization and protein targeting dependencies into the organelle, we unveiled non‐canonical targeting routes. Metabolomic analysis of the peroxi‐ome revealed the role of several newly identified resident enzymes. Importantly, we found a regulatory role of peroxisomes during gluconeogenesis, which is fundamental for understanding cellular metabolism. With the current recognition that peroxisomes play a crucial part in organismal physiology, our approach lays the foundation for deep characterization of peroxisome function in health and disease.
High‐content imaging analysis uncovers the peroxisomal proteome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Systematic, whole‐organellar proteome assays reveal new players in peroxisome organization, targeting, and function.
Targeting dependency assays unveiled non‐canonical targeting routes of Pex5‐dependent cargo proteins.
Metabolomic analysis of each peroxisomal mutant revealed the role of several newly‐identified resident enzymes.
Targeted inspection of two newly identified peroxisomal proteins uncovered a regulatory role of peroxisomes during gluconeogenesis.
High‐content imaging analysis uncovers the peroxisomal proteome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Systematic, whole‐organellar proteome assays reveal new players in peroxisome organization, targeting, and function.
Membrane contact sites are specialized platforms formed between most organelles that enable them to exchange metabolites and influence the dynamics of each other. The yeast vacuole is a degradative organelle equivalent to the lysosome in higher eukaryotes with important roles in ion homeostasis and metabolism. Using a high-content microscopy screen, we identified Ymr160w (Cvm1, for contact of the vacuole membrane 1) as a novel component of three different contact sites of the vacuole: with the nuclear endoplasmic reticulum, the mitochondria, and the peroxisomes. At the vacuole–mitochondria contact site, Cvm1 acts as a tether independently of previously known tethers. We show that changes in Cvm1 levels affect sphingolipid homeostasis, altering the levels of multiple sphingolipid classes and the response of sphingolipid-sensing signaling pathways. Furthermore, the contact sites formed by Cvm1 are induced upon a decrease in sphingolipid levels. Altogether, our work identifies a novel protein that forms multiple contact sites and supports a role of lysosomal contacts in sphingolipid homeostasis.
Metabolism is emerging as a central influencer of multiple disease states in humans. Peroxisomes are central metabolic organelles whose decreased function gives rise to severe peroxisomal diseases. Recently, it is becoming clear that, beyond such rare inborn errors, the deterioration of peroxisomal functions contributes to multiple and prevalent diseases such as cancer, viral infection, diabetes, and neurodegeneration. Despite the clear importance of peroxisomes in common pathophysiological processes, research on the mechanisms underlying their contributions is still sparse. Here, we highlight the timeliness of focusing on peroxisomes in current research on central, abundant, and society-impacting human pathologies. As peroxisomes are now coming into the spotlight, it is clear that intensive research into these important organelles will enable a better understanding of their contribution to human health, serving as the basis to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to prevent and treat human diseases.
Peroxisomes host essential metabolic enzymes and are crucial for human health and survival. Although peroxisomes were first described over 60 years ago, their entire proteome has not yet been identified. As a basis for understanding the variety of peroxisomal functions, we used a high-throughput screen to discover peroxisomal proteins in yeast. To visualize low abundance proteins, we utilized a collection of strains containing a peroxisomal marker in which each protein is expressed from the constitutive and strong TEF2 promoter. Using this approach, we uncovered 18 proteins that were not observed in peroxisomes before and could show their metabolic and targeting factor dependence for peroxisomal localization. We focus on one newly identified and uncharacterized matrix protein, Ynl097c-b, and show that it localizes to peroxisomes upon lysine deprivation and that its localization to peroxisomes depends on the lysine biosynthesis enzyme, Lys1. We demonstrate that Ynl097c-b affects the abundance of Lys1 and the lysine biosynthesis pathway. We have therefore renamed this protein Pls1 for Peroxisomal Lys1 Stabilizing 1. Our work uncovers an additional layer of regulation on the central lysine biosynthesis pathway. More generally it highlights how the discovery of peroxisomal proteins can expand our understanding of cellular metabolism.
Fluorescence microscopy revolutionized cell biology and changed requirements for dyes towards higher brightness, novel capacities, and specific targets. With the need for multiplexing assays in high-throughput methodologies, surface staining gained particular interest because it allows rapid application of exogenous stains to track cellular identity in mixed populations. Indeed, the last decade has enriched the toolbox of general lipid stains, fluorescent lipid analogues, sugar-binding lectins, and protein-specific antibodies enabling the first rationally designed plasma membrane-specific dyes. Still, multiple challenges exist, and the unique properties of each dye must be considered when selecting a staining approach for a specific application. Recent advances are also promising that future dyes will provide ultimate brightness and photostability in diverse colors and reduced sizes for high-resolution imaging.
Despite decades of research and the availability of the full genomic sequence of the baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, still a large fraction of its genome is not functionally annotated. This hinders our ability to fully understand cellular activity and suggests that many additional processes await discovery. The recent years have shown an explosion of high-quality genomic and structural data from multiple organisms, ranging from bacteria to mammals. New computational methods now allow us to integrate these data and extract meaningful insights into the functional identity of uncharacterized proteins in yeast. Here, we created a database of sensitive sequence similarity predictions for all yeast proteins. We use this information to identify candidate enzymes for known biochemical reactions whose enzymes are unidentified, and show how this provides a powerful basis for experimental validation. Using one pathway as a test case we pair a new function for the previously uncharacterized enzyme Yhr202w, as an extra-cellular AMP hydrolase in the NAD degradation pathway. Yhr202w, which we now term Smn1 for Scavenger MonoNucleotidase 1, is a highly conserved protein that is similar to the human protein E5NT/CD73, which is associated with multiple cancers. Hence, our new methodology provides a paradigm, that can be adopted to other organisms, for uncovering new enzymatic functions of uncharacterized proteins.
Crucial metabolic functions of peroxisomes rely on a variety of peroxisomal membrane proteins (PMPs). While mRNA transcripts of PMPs were shown to be colocalized with peroxisomes, the process by which PMPs efficiently couple translation with targeting to the peroxisomal membrane remained elusive. Here, we combine quantitative electron microscopy with proximity-specific ribosome profiling and reveal that translation of specific PMPs occurs on the surface of peroxisomes in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This places peroxisomes alongside chloroplasts, mitochondria, and the endoplasmic reticulum as organelles that use localized translation for ensuring correct insertion of hydrophobic proteins into their membranes. Moreover, the correct targeting of these transcripts to peroxisomes is crucial for peroxisomal and cellular function, emphasizing the importance of localized translation for cellular physiology.
Mitochondrial functions are tightly regulated by nuclear activity, requiring extensive communication between these organelles. One way by which organelles can communicate is through contact sites, areas of close apposition held together by tethering molecules. While many contacts have been characterized in yeast, the contact between the nucleus and mitochondria was not previously identified. Using fluorescence and electron microscopy in S. cerevisiae, we demonstrate specific areas of contact between the two organelles. Using a high-throughput screen, we uncover a role for the uncharacterized protein Ybr063c, which we have named Cnm1 (contact nucleus mitochondria 1), as a molecular tether on the nuclear membrane. We show that Cnm1 mediates contact by interacting with Tom70 on mitochondria. Moreover, Cnm1 abundance is regulated by phosphatidylcholine, enabling the coupling of phospholipid homeostasis with contact extent. The discovery of a molecular mechanism that allows mitochondrial crosstalk with the nucleus sets the ground for better understanding of mitochondrial functions in health and disease.
Mitochondrial ribosomes are complex molecular machines indispensable for respiration. Their assembly involves the import of several dozens of mitochondrial ribosomal proteins (MRPs), encoded in the nuclear genome, into the mitochondrial matrix. Proteomic and structural data as well as computational predictions indicate that up to 25% of yeast MRPs do not have a conventional N-terminal mitochondrial targeting signal (MTS). We experimentally characterized a set of 15 yeast MRPs in vivo and found that five use internal MTSs. Further analysis of a conserved model MRP, Mrp17/bS6m, revealed the identity of the internal targeting signal. Similar to conventional MTS-containing proteins, the internal sequence mediates binding to TOM complexes. The entire sequence of Mrp17 contains positive charges mediating translocation. The fact that these sequence properties could not be reliably predicted by standard methods shows that mitochondrial protein targeting is more versatile than expected. We hypothesize that structural constraints imposed by ribosome assembly interfaces may have disfavored N-terminal presequences and driven the evolution of internal targeting signals in MRPs.
Most mitochondrial proteins are synthesized in the cytosol and targeted to the mitochondrial surface in a post-translational manner. The surface of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) plays an active role in this targeting reaction. ER-associated chaperones interact with certain mitochondrial membrane protein precursors and transfer them onto receptor proteins of the mitochondrial surface in a process termed ER-SURF. ATP-driven proteins in the membranes of mitochondria (Msp1, ATAD1) and the ER (Spf1, P5A-ATPase) serve as extractors for the removal of mislocalized proteins. If the re-routing to mitochondria fails, precursors can be degraded by ER or mitochondria-associated degradation (ERAD or MAD respectively) in a proteasome-mediated reaction. This review summarizes the current knowledge about the cooperation of the ER and mitochondria in the targeting and quality control of mitochondrial precursor proteins.
Glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins (GPI-APs) are membrane-conjugated cell-surface proteins with diverse structural, developmental, and signaling functions and clinical relevance. Typically, after biosynthesis and attachment to the preassembled GPI anchor, GPI-APs rapidly leave the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and rely on post-ER quality control. Terminally misfolded GPI-APs end up inside the vacuole/lysosome for degradation, but their trafficking itinerary to this organelle and the processes linked to their uptake by the vacuole/lysosome remain uncharacterized. In a yeast mutant that is lacking Pep4, a key vacuolar protease, several misfolded model GPI-APs accumulated in the vacuolar membrane. In the same mutant, macroautophagy and the multi-vesicular body (MVB) pathway were intact, hinting at a hitherto-unknown trafficking pathway for the degradation of misfolded GPI-APs. To unravel it, we used a genome-wide screen coupled to high-throughput fluorescence microscopy and followed the fate of the misfolded GPI-AP: Gas1∗. We found that components of the early secretory and endocytic pathways are involved in its targeting to the vacuole and that vacuolar transporter chaperones (VTCs), with roles in microautophagy, negatively affect the vacuolar uptake of Gas1∗. In support, we demonstrate that Gas1∗ internalizes from vacuolar membranes into membrane-bound intravacuolar vesicles prior to degradation. Our data link post-ER degradation with microautophagy.
For the biogenesis of mitochondria, hundreds of proteins need to be targeted from the cytosol into the various compartments of this organelle. The intramitochondrial targeting routes these proteins take to reach their respective location in the organelle are well understood. However, the early targeting processes, from cytosolic ribosomes to the membrane of the organelle, are still largely unknown. In this study, we present evidence that an integral membrane protein of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), Ema19, plays a role in this process. Mutants lacking Ema19 show an increased stability of mitochondrial precursor proteins, indicating that Ema19 promotes the proteolytic degradation of nonproductive precursors. The deletion of Ema19 improves the growth of respiration-deficient cells, suggesting that Ema19-mediated degradation can compete with productive protein import into mitochondria. Ema19 is the yeast representative of a conserved protein family. The human Ema19 homologue is known as sigma 2 receptor or TMEM97. Though its molecular function is not known, previous studies suggested a role of the sigma 2 receptor as a quality control factor in the ER, compatible with our observations about Ema19. More globally, our data provide an additional demonstration of the important role of the ER in mitochondrial protein targeting.
Contact sites are areas of close apposition between two membranes that coordinate nonvesicular communication between organelles. Such interactions serve a wide range of cellular functions from regulating metabolic pathways to executing stress responses and coordinating organelle inheritance. The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in information on certain contact sites, mostly those involving the endoplasmic reticulum. However, despite its central role in the secretory pathway, the Golgi apparatus and its contact sites remain largely unexplored. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge of Golgi contact sites and share our thoughts as to why Golgi contact sites are understudied. We also highlight what exciting future directions may exist in this emerging field.
Eukaryotic cells have evolved organelles that allow the compartmentalization and regulation of metabolic processes. Knowledge of molecular mechanisms that allow temporal and spatial organization of enzymes within organelles is therefore crucial for understanding eukaryotic metabolism. Here, we show that the yeast malate dehydrogenase 2 (Mdh2) is dually localized to the cytosol and to peroxisomes and is targeted to peroxisomes via association with Mdh3 and a Pex5-dependent piggybacking mechanism. This dual localization of Mdh2 contributes to our understanding of the glyoxylate cycle and provides a new perspective on compartmentalization of cellular metabolism, which is critical for the perception of metabolic disorders and aging.
Cellular function requires molecular motors to transport cargoes to their correct intracellular locations. The regulated assembly and disassembly of motor-adaptor complexes ensures that cargoes are loaded at their origin and unloaded at their destination. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, early in the cell cycle, a portion of the vacuole is transported into the emerging bud. This transport requires a myosin V motor, Myo2, which attaches to the vacuole via Vac17, the vacuole-specific adaptor protein. Vac17 also binds to Vac8, a vacuolar membrane protein. Once the vacuole is brought to the bud cortex via the Myo2-Vac17-Vac8 complex, Vac17 is degraded and the vacuole is released from Myo2. However, mechanisms governing dissociation of the Myo2-Vac17-Vac8 complex are not well understood. Ubiquitylation of the Vac17 adaptor at the bud cortex provides spatial regulation of vacuole release. Here, we report that ubiquitylation alone is not sufficient for cargo release. We find that a parallel pathway, which initiates on the vacuole, converges with ubiquitylation to release the vacuole from Myo2. Specifically, we show that Yck3 and Vps41, independent of their known roles in homotypic fusion and protein sorting (HOPS)-mediated vesicle tethering, are required for the phosphorylation of Vac17 in its Myo2 binding domain. These phosphorylation events allow ubiquitylated Vac17 to be released from Myo2 and Vac8. Our data suggest that Vps41 is regulating the phosphorylation of Vac17 via Yck3, a casein kinase I, and likely another unknown kinase. That parallel pathways are required to release the vacuole from Myo2 suggests that multiple signals are integrated to terminate organelle inheritance.
Approximately half of eukaryotic proteins reside in organelles. To reach their correct destination, such proteins harbor targeting signals recognized by dedicated targeting pathways. It has been shown that differences in targeting signals alter the efficiency in which proteins are recognized and targeted. Since multiple proteins compete for any single pathway, such differences can affect the priority for which a protein is catered. However, to date the entire repertoire of proteins with targeting priority, and the mechanisms underlying it, have not been explored for any pathway. Here we developed a systematic tool to study targeting priority and used the Pex5-mediated targeting to yeast peroxisomes as a model. We titrated Pex5 out by expressing high levels of a Pex5-cargo protein and examined how the localization of each peroxisomal protein is affected. We found that while most known Pex5 cargo proteins were outcompeted, several cargo proteins were not affected, implying that they have high targeting priority. This priority group was dependent on metabolic conditions. We dissected the mechanism of priority for these proteins and suggest that targeting priority is governed by different parameters, including binding affinity of the targeting signal to the cargo factor, the number of binding interfaces to the cargo factor, and more. This approach can be modified to study targeting priority in various organelles, cell types, and organisms.
The peroxisomal biogenesis factor Pex14p is an essential component of the peroxisomal matrix protein import machinery. Together with Pex13p and Pex17p, it is part of the membrane-associated peroxisomal docking complex in yeast, facilitating the binding of cargo-loaded receptor proteins for translocation of cargo proteins into the peroxisome. Furthermore, Pex14p is part of peroxisomal import pores. The central role of Pex14p in peroxisomal matrix protein import processes renders it an obvious target for regulatory mechanisms such as protein phosphorylation. To explore this possibility, we examined the state of Pex14p phosphorylation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Phos-tag-SDS-PAGE of Pex14p affinity-purified from solubilized membranes revealed Pex14p as multi-phosphorylated protein. Using mass spectrometry, we identified 16 phosphorylation sites, with phosphorylation hot spots located in the N- and C-terminal regions of Pex14p. Analysis of phosphomimicking and non-phosphorylatable variants of Pex14p revealed a decreased import of GFP carrying a peroxisomal targeting signal type 1, indicating a functional relevance of Pex14p phosphorylation in peroxisomal matrix protein import. We show that this effect can be ascribed to the phosphomimicking mutation at serine 266 of Pex14p (Pex14p-S266D). We further screened the subcellular distribution of 23 native GFP-tagged peroxisomal matrix proteins by high-content fluorescence microscopy. Only Cit2p, the peroxisomal isoform of citrate synthase, was affected in the Pex14p-S266D mutant, showing increased cytosolic localization. Cit2p is part of the glyoxylate cycle, which is required for the production of essential carbohydrates when yeast is grown on non-fermentable carbon sources. Pex14p-S266 phosphosite mutants showed reversed growth phenotypes in oleic acid and ethanol with acetyl-CoA formed in peroxisomes and the cytosol, respectively. Overexpression of Cit2p rescued the growth phenotype of yeast cells expressing Pex14p-S266D in oleic acid. Our data indicate that phosphorylation of Pex14p at S266 provides a mechanism for controlling the peroxisomal import of Cit2p, which helps S. cerevisiae cells to adjust their carbohydrate metabolism according to the nutritional conditions.
While targeting of proteins synthesized in the cytosol to any organelle is complex, mitochondria present the most challenging of destinations. First, import of nuclear-encoded proteins needs to be balanced with production of mitochondrial-encoded ones. Moreover, as mitochondria are divided into distinct subdomains, their proteins harbor a number of different targeting signals and biophysical properties. While translocation into the mitochondrial membranes has been well studied, the cytosolic steps of protein import remain poorly understood. Here, we review current knowledge on mRNA and protein targeting to mitochondria, as well as recent advances in our understanding of the cellular programs that respond to accumulation of mitochondrial precursor proteins in the cytosol, thus linking defects in targeting-capacity to signaling.
Niemann-Pick disease type C (NPC) is a rare lysosomal storage disease caused by mutations in either the NPC1 or NPC2 genes. Mutations in the NPC1 gene lead to the majority of clinical cases (95%); however, the function of NPC1 remains unknown. To gain further insights into the biology of NPC1, we took advantage of the homology between the human NPC1 protein and its yeast orthologue, Niemann-Pick C-related protein 1 (Ncr1). We recreated the NCR1 mutant in yeast and performed screens to identify compensatory or redundant pathways that may be involved in NPC pathology, as well as proteins that were mislocalized in NCR1-deficient yeast. We also identified binding partners of the yeast Ncr1 orthologue. These screens identified several processes and pathways that may contribute to NPC pathogenesis. These included alterations in mitochondria) function, cytoskeleton organization, metal ion homeostasis, lipid trafficking, calcium signalling, and nutrient sensing. The mitochondria) and cytoskeletal abnormalities were validated in patient cells carrying mutations in NPC1, confirming their dysfunction in NPC disease.
The evolution of eukaryotic genomes has been propelled by a series of gene duplication events, leading to an expansion in new functions and pathways. While duplicate genes may retain some functional redundancy, it is clear that to survive selection they cannot simply serve as a backup but rather must acquire distinct functions required for cellular processes to work accurately and efficiently. Understanding these differences and characterizing gene-specific functions is complex. Here we explore different gene pairs and families within the context of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the main cellular hub of lipid biosynthesis and the entry site for the secretory pathway. Focusing on each of the ER functions, we highlight specificities of related proteins and the capabilities conferred to cells through their conservation. More generally, these examples suggest why related genes have been maintained by evolutionary forces and provide a conceptual framework to experimentally determine why they have survived selection.
The yeast phosphatidylserine (PtdSer) decarboxylase Psd2 is proposed to engage in a membrane contact site (MCS) for PtdSer decarboxylation to phosphatidylethanolamine (PtdEtn). This proposed MCS harbors Psd2, the Sec14-like phosphatidylinositol transfer protein (PITP) Sfh4, the Stt4 phosphatidylinositol (Ptdlns) 4-OH kinase, the Scs2 tether, and an uncharacterized protein. We report that, of these components, only Sfh4 and Stt4 regulate Psd2 activity in vivo. They do so via distinct mechanisms. Sfh4 operates via a mechanism for which its Ptdlns-transfer activity is dispensable but requires an Sfh4-Psd2 physical interaction. The other requires Stt4-mediated production of Ptdlns-4-phosphate (PtdIns4P), where Stt4 (along with the Sad PtdIns4P phosphatase and endoplasmic reticulum-plasma membrane tethers) indirectly modulate Psd2 activity via a PtdIns4P homeostatic mechanism that influences PtdSer accessibility to Psd2. These results identify an example in which the biological function of a Sec14-like PITP is cleanly uncoupled from its canonical in vitro PtdIns-transfer activity and challenge popular functional assumptions regarding lipid-transfer protein involvements in MCS function.
Contact sites, areas where two organelles are held in close proximity through the action of molecular tethers, enable non-vesicular communication between compartments. Mitochondria have been center stage in the contact site field since the discovery of the first contact between mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) over 60 years ago. However, only now, in the last decade, has there been a burst of discoveries regarding contact site biology in general and mitochondrial contacts specifically. The number and types of characterized contacts increased dramatically, new molecular mechanisms enabling contact formation were discovered, additional unexpected functions for contacts were shown, and their roles in cellular and organismal physiology were emphasized. Here, we focus on mitochondria as we highlight the most recent developments, future goals and unresolved questions in the field.
The proteolytic turnover of mitochondrial proteins is poorly understood. Here, we used a combination of dynamic isotope labeling and mass spectrometry to gain a global overview of mitochondrial protein turnover in yeast cells. Intriguingly, we found an exceptionally high turnover of the NADH dehydrogenase, Nde1. This homolog of the mammalian apoptosis inducing factor, AIF, forms two distinct topomers in mitochondria, one residing in the inter-membrane space while the other spans the outer membrane and is exposed to the cytosol. The surface-exposed topomer triggers cell death in response to pro-apoptotic stimuli. The surface-exposed topomer is degraded by the cytosolic proteasome/Cdc48 system and the mitochondrial protease Yme1; however, it is strongly enriched in respiratory-deficient cells. Our data suggest that in addition to their role in electron transfer, mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenases such as Nde1 or AIF integrate signals from energy metabolism and cytosolic proteostasis to eliminate compromised cells from growing populations.
Mitochondrial complex I (CI) is the largest multi-subunit oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) protein complex. Recent availability of a high-resolution human CI structure, and from two non-human mammals, enabled predicting the impact of mutations on interactions involving each of the 44 CI subunits. However, experimentally assessing the impact of the predicted interactions requires an easy and high-throughput method. Here, we created such a platform by cloning all 37 nuclear DNA (nDNA) and 7 mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)-encoded human CI subunits into yeast expression vectors to serve as both 'prey' and 'bait' in the split murine dihydrofolate reductase (mDHFR) protein complementation assay (PCA). We first demonstrated the capacity of this approach and then used it to examine reported pathological OXPHOS CI mutations that occur at subunit interaction interfaces. Our results indicate that a pathological frame-shift mutation in the MT-ND2 gene, causing the replacement of 126 C-terminal residues by a stretch of only 30 amino acids, resulted in loss of specificity in ND2-based interactions involving these residues. Hence, the split mDHFR PCA is a powerful assay for assessing the impact of disease-causing mutations on pairwise protein-protein interactions in the context of a large protein complex, thus offering a possible mechanistic explanation for the underlying pathogenicity.
O-mannosylation is implicated in protein quality control in Saccharomyces cerevisiae due to the attachment of mannose to serine and threonine residues of un- or misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). This process also designated as unfolded protein O-mannosylation (UPOM) that ends futile folding cycles and saves cellular resources is mainly mediated by protein O-mannosyltransferases Pmt1 and Pmt2. Here we describe a genetic screen for factors that influence O-mannosylation in yeast, using slow-folding green fluorescent protein (GFP) as a reporter. Our screening identifies the RNA binding protein brefeldin A resistance factor 1 (Bfr1) that has not been linked to O-mannosylation and ER protein quality control before. We find that Bfr1 affects O-mannosylation through changes in Pmt1 and Pmt2 protein abundance but has no effect on PMT1 and PMT2 transcript levels, mRNA localization to the ER membrane or protein stability. Ribosome profiling reveals that Bfr1 is a crucial factor for Pmt1 and Pmt2 translation thereby affecting unfolded protein O-mannosylation. Our results uncover a new level of regulation of protein quality control in the secretory pathway.
During cell division, the inheritance of a functional endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is ensured by the endoplasmic reticulum stress surveillance (ERSU) pathway. Activation of ERSU causes the septin ring to mislocalize, which blocks ER inheritance and cytokinesis. Here, we uncover that the septin ring in fact translocates to previously utilized cell division sites called cytokinetic remnants (CRMs). This unconventional translocation requires Nba1, a negative polarity regulator that normally prevents repolarization and re-budding at CRMs. Furthermore, septin ring translocation relies on the recruitment and activation of a key ERSU component Slt2 by Beml , without activating Cdc42. Failure to transfer all septin subunits to CRMs delays the cell's ability to re-enter the cell cycle when ER homeostasis is restored and hinders cell growth after ER stress recovery. Thus, these deliberate but unprecedented rearrangements of cell polarity factors during ER stress safeguard cell survival and the timely cell-cycle re-entry upon ER stress recovery.
Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy (HSAN) types IA and IC (IA/C) are caused by elevated levels of an atypical class of lipid named 1-deoxysphingolipid (DoxSL). How elevated levels of DoxSL perturb the physiology of the cell and how the perturbations lead to HSAN IA/C are largely unknown. In this study, we show that C-26-1-deoxydihydrocer-amide (C-26-DoxDHCer) is highly toxic to the cell, while C-16- and C-18-DoxDHCer are less toxic. Genome-wide genetic screens and lipidomics revealed the dynamics of DoxSL accumulation and DoxSL species responsible for the toxicity over the course of DoxSL accumulation. Moreover, we show that disruption of F-actin organization, alteration of mitochondrial shape, and accumulation of hydrophobic bodies by DoxSL are not sufficient to cause complete cellular failure. We found that cell death coincides with collapsed ER membrane, although we cannot rule out other possible causes of cell death. Thus, we have unraveled key principles of DoxSL cytotoxicity that may help to explain the clinical features of HSAN IA/C.
Mitochondria are unique organelles harboring two distinct membranes, the mitochondrial inner and outer membrane (MIM and MOM, respectively). Mitochondria comprise only a subset of metabolic pathways for the synthesis of membrane lipids; therefore most lipid species and their precursors have to be imported from other cellular compartments. One such import process is mediated by the ER mitochondria encounter structure (ERMES) complex. Both mitochondrial membranes surround the hydrophilic intermembrane space (IMS). Therefore, additional systems are required that shuttle lipids between the MIM and MOM. Recently, we identified the IMS protein Mcp2 as a high-copy suppressor for cells that lack a functional ERMES complex. To understand better how mitochondria facilitate transport and biogenesis of lipids, we searched for genetic interactions of this suppressor. We found that MCP2 has a negative genetic interaction with the gene TGL2 encoding a neutral lipid hydrolase. We show that this lipase is located in the intermembrane space of the mitochondrion and is imported via the Mia40 disulfide relay system. Furthermore, we show a positive genetic interaction of double deletion of MCP2 and PSD1, the gene encoding the enzyme that synthesizes the major amount of cellular phosphatidylethanolamine. Finally, we demonstrate that the nucleotide-binding motifs of the predicted atypical kinase Mcp2 are required for its proper function. Taken together, our data suggest that Mcp2 is involved in mitochondrial lipid metabolism and an increase of this involvement by overexpression suppresses loss of ERMES.
Cells dynamically adjust organelle organization in response to growth and environmental cues. This requires regulation of synthesis of phospholipids, the building blocks of organelle membranes, or remodeling of their fatty-acyl (FA) composition. FAs are also the main components of triacyglycerols (TGs), which enable energy storage in lipid droplets. How cells coordinate FA metabolism with organelle biogenesis during cell growth remains unclear. Here, we show that Lro1, an acyltransferase that generates TGs from phospholipid-derived FAs in yeast, relocates from the endoplasmic reticulum to a subdomain of the inner nuclear membrane. Lro1 nuclear targeting is regulated by cell cycle and nutrient starvation signals and is inhibited when the nucleus expands. Lro1 is active at this nuclear subdomain, and its compartmentalization is critical for nuclear integrity. These data suggest that Lro1 nuclear targeting provides a site of TG synthesis, which is coupled with nuclear membrane remodeling.
Genetic screens using high-throughput fluorescent microscopes have generated large datasets, contributing many cell biological insights. Such approaches cannot tackle questions requiring knowledge of ultrastructure below the resolution limit of fluorescent microscopy. Electron microscopy (EM) reveals detailed cellular ultrastructure but requires time-consuming sample preparation, limiting throughput. Here we describe a robust method for screening by high-throughput EM. Our approach uses combinations of fluorophores as barcodes to uniquely mark each cell type in mixed populations and correlative light and EM (CLEM) to read the barcode of each cell before it is imaged by EM. Coupled with an easy-to-use software workflow for correlation, segmentation, and computer image analysis, our method, called "MultiCLEM," allows us to extract and analyze multiple cell populations from each EM sample preparation. We demonstrate several uses for MultiCLEM with 15 different yeast variants. The methodology is not restricted to yeast, can be scaled to higher throughput, and can be used in multiple ways to enable EM to become a powerful screening technique.
Membrane proteins perform a variety of functions, all crucially dependent on their orientation in the membrane. However, neither the exact number of transmembrane domains (TMDs) nor the topology of most proteins have been experimentally determined. Due to this, most scientists rely primarily on prediction algorithms to determine topology and TMD assignments. Since these can give contradictory results, single-algorithm-based predictions are unreliable. To map the extent of potential misanalysis, the predictions of nine algorithms on the yeast proteome are compared and it is found that they have little agreement when predicting TMD number and termini orientation. To view all predictions in parallel, a webpage called TopologYeast: was created. Each algorithm is compared with experimental data and a poor agreement is found. The analysis suggests that more systematic data on protein topology are required to increase the training sets for prediction algorithms and to have accurate knowledge of membrane protein topology.
LAG1 was the first longevity assurance gene discovered in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The Lag1 protein is a ceramide synthase and its homolog, Lac1, has a similar enzymatic function but no role in aging. Lag1 and Lac1 lie in an enzymatic branch point of the sphingolipid pathway that is interconnected by the activity of the C4 hydroxylase, Sur2. By uncoupling the enzymatic branch point and using lipidomic mass spectrometry, metabolic labeling and in vitro assays we show that Lag1 preferentially synthesizes phyto-sphingolipids. Using photo-bleaching experiments we show that Lag1 is uniquely required for the establishment of a lateral diffusion barrier in the nuclear envelope, which depends on phytoceramide. Given the role of this diffusion barrier in the retention of aging factors in the mother cell, we suggest that the different specificities of the two ceramide synthases, and the specific effect of Lag1 on asymmetrical inheritance, may explain why Delta lag1 cells have an increased lifespan while Delta lac1 cells do not.
Seipin (BSCL2/SPG17) is a key factor in lipid droplet (LD) biology, and its dysfunction results in severe pathologies, including the fat storage disease Berardinelli-Seip congenital lipodystrophy type 2, as well as several neurological seipinopathies. Despite its importance for human health, the molecular role of seipin is still enigmatic. Seipin is evolutionarily conserved from yeast to humans. In yeast, seipin was recently found to cooperate with the lipid droplet organization (LDO) proteins, Ldo16 and Ldo45, two structurally-related proteins involved in LD function and identity that display remote homology to the human protein promethin/TMEM159. In this study, we show that promethin is indeed an LD-associated protein that forms a complex with seipin, and its localization to the LD surface can be modulated by seipin expression levels. We thus identify promethin as a novel seipin partner protein.
Close proximities between organelles have been described for decades. However, only recently a specific field dealing with organelle communication at membrane contact sites has gained wide acceptance, attracting scientists from multiple areas of cell biology. The diversity of approaches warrants a unified vocabulary for the field. Such definitions would facilitate laying the foundations of this field, streamlining communication and resolving semantic controversies. This opinion, written by a panel of experts in the field, aims to provide this burgeoning area with guidelines for the experimental definition and analysis of contact sites. It also includes suggestions on how to operationally and tractably measure and analyze them with the hope of ultimately facilitating knowledge production and dissemination within and outside the field of contact-site research.
While protein tags are ubiquitously utilized in molecular biology, they harbor the potential to interfere with functional traits of their fusion counterparts. Systematic evaluation of the effect of protein tags on function would promote accurate use of tags in experimental setups. Here we examine the effect of green fluorescent protein tagging at either the N or C terminus of budding yeast proteins on subcellular localization and functionality. We use a competition-based approach to decipher the relative fitness of two strains tagged on the same protein but on opposite termini and from that infer the correct, physiological localization for each protein and the optimal position for tagging. Our study provides a first of a kind systematic assessment of the effect of tags on the functionality of proteins and provides a step toward broad investigation of protein fusion libraries.
The yeast protein Taz1 is the orthologue of human Tafazzin, a phospholipid acyltransferase involved in cardiolipin (CL) remodeling via a monolyso CL (MLCL) intermediate. Mutations in Tafazzin lead to Barth syndrome (BTHS), a metabolic and neuromuscular disorder that primarily affects the heart, muscles, and immune system. Similar to observations in fibroblasts and platelets from patients with BTHS or from animal models, abolishing yeast Taz1 results in decreased total CL amounts, increased levels of MLCL, and mitochondrial dysfunction. However, the biochemical mechanisms underlying the mitochondrial dysfunction in BTHS remain unclear. To better understand the pathomechanism of BTHS, we searched for multi-copy suppressors of the taz1 growth defect in yeast cells. We identified the branched-chain amino acid transaminases (BCATs) Bat1 and Bat2 as such suppressors. Similarly, overexpression of the mitochondrial isoform BCAT2 in mammalian cells lacking TAZ improves their growth. Elevated levels of Bat1 or Bat2 did not restore the reduced membrane potential, altered stability of respiratory complexes, or the defective accumulation of MLCL species in yeast taz1 cells. Importantly, supplying yeast or mammalian cells lacking TAZ1 with certain amino acids restored their growth behavior. Hence, our findings suggest that the metabolism of amino acids has an important and disease-relevant role in cells lacking Taz1 function.Key messagesBat1 and Bat2 are multi-copy suppressors of retarded growth of taz1 yeast cells.Overexpression of Bat1/2 in taz1 cells does not rescue known mitochondrial defects.Supplementation of amino acids enhances growth of cells lacking Taz1 or Tafazzin.Altered metabolism of amino acids might be involved in the pathomechanism of BTSH.
The ability to measure the abundance and visualize the localization of proteins across the yeast proteome has stimulated hypotheses on gene function and fueled discoveries. While the classic C' tagged GFP yeast library has been the only resource for over a decade, the recent development of the SWAT technology has led to the creation of multiple novel yeast libraries where new-generation fluorescent reporters are fused at the N' and C' of open reading frames. Efficient access to these data requires a user interface to visualize and compare protein abundance, localization and co-localization across cells, strains, and libraries. YeastRGB (www.yeastRGB.org) was designed to address such a need, through a user-friendly interface that maximizes informative content. It employs a compact display where cells are cropped and tiled together into a cell-grid.' This representation enables viewing dozens of cells for a particular strain within a display unit, and up to 30 display units can be arrayed on a standard high-definition screen. Additionally, the display unit allows users to control zoom-level and overlay of images acquired using different color channels. Thus, YeastRGB makes comparing abundance and localization efficient, across thousands of cells from different strains and libraries.
The sugar content of Solanum lycopersicum (tomato) fruit is a primary determinant of taste and quality. Cultivated tomato fruit are characterized by near-equimolar levels of the hexoses glucose and fructose, derived from the hydrolysis of translocated sucrose. As fructose is perceived as approximately twice as sweet as glucose, increasing its concentration at the expense of glucose can improve tomato fruit taste. Introgressions of the Fgr(H) allele from the wild species Solanum habrochaites (LA1777) into cultivated tomato increased the fructose-to-glucose ratio of the ripe fruit by reducing glucose levels and concomitantly increasing fructose levels. In order to identify the function of the Fgr gene, we combined a fine-mapping strategy with RNAseq differential expression analysis of near-isogenic tomato lines. The results indicated that a SWEET protein was strongly upregulated in the lines with a high fructose-to-glucose ratio. Overexpressing the SWEET protein in transgenic tomato plants dramatically reduced the glucose levels and increased the fructose:glucose ratio in the developing fruit, thereby proving the function of the protein. The SWEET protein was localized to the plasma membrane and expression of the SlFgr gene in a yeast line lacking native hexose transporters complemented growth with glucose, but not with fructose. These results indicate that the SlFgr gene encodes a plasma membrane-localized glucose efflux transporter of the SWEET family, the overexpression of which reduces glucose levels and may allow for increased fructose levels. This article identifies the function of the tomato Fgr gene as a SWEET transporter, the upregulation of which leads to a modified sugar accumulation pattern in the fleshy fruit. The results point to the potential of the inedible wild species to improve fruit sugar accumulation via sugar transport mechanisms.Significance Statement This paper identifies the function of the tomato Fgr gene as a SWEET transporter whose upregulation leads to a modified sugar accumulation pattern in the fleshy fruit. The results point to the potential of the inedible wild species to impact on fruit sugar accumulation via sugar transport mechanisms.
The majority of organellar proteins are translated on cytosolic ribosomes and must be sorted correctly to function. Targeting routes have been identified for organelles such as peroxisomes and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). However, little is known about the initial steps of targeting of mitochondrial proteins. In this study, we used a genome-wide screen in yeast and identified factors critical for the intracellular sorting of themitochondrial inner membrane protein Oxa1. The screen uncovered an unexpected path, termed ER-SURF, for targeting of mitochondrial membrane proteins. This pathway retrieves mitochondrial proteins from the ER surface and reroutes them to mitochondria with the aid of the ER-localized chaperone Djp1. Hence, cells use the expanse of the ER surfaces as a fail-safe to maximize productive mitochondrial protein targeting.
Yeast libraries revolutionized the systematic study of cell biology. To extensively increase the number of such libraries, we used our previously devised SWAp-Tag (SWAT) approach to construct a genome-wide library of similar to 5,500 strains carrying the SWAT NOP1promoter-GFP module at the N terminus of proteins. In addition, we created six diverse libraries that restored the native regulation, created an overexpression library with a Cherry tag, or enabled protein complementation assays from two fragments of an enzyme or fluorophore. We developed methods utilizing these SWAT collections to systematically characterize the yeast proteome for protein abundance, localization, topology, and interactions.
In the last decade several collections of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast strains have been created. In these collections every gene is modified in a similar manner such as by a deletion or the addition of a protein tag. Such libraries have enabled a diversity of systematic screens, giving rise to large amounts of information regarding gene functions. However, often papers describing such screens focus on a single gene or a small set of genes and all other loci affecting the phenotype of choice (hits') are only mentioned in tables that are provided as supplementary material and are often hard to retrieve or search. To help unify and make such data accessible, we have created a Database of High Throughput Screening Hits (dHITS). The dHITS database enables information to be obtained about screens in which genes of interest were found as well as the other genes that came up in that screen - all in a readily accessible and downloadable format. The ability to query large lists of genes at the same time provides a platform to easily analyse hits obtained from transcriptional analyses or other screens. We hope that this platform will serve as a tool to facilitate investigation of protein functions to the yeast community.
Cellular redox status affects diverse cellular functions, including proliferation, protein homeostasis, and aging. Thus, individual differences in redox status can give rise to distinct subpopulations even among cells with identical genetic backgrounds. Here, we have created a novel methodology to track redox status at single cell resolution using the redox-sensitive probe Grx1-roGFP2. Our method allows identification and sorting of sub-populations with different oxidation levels in either the cytosol, mitochondria or peroxisomes. Using this approach, we defined a redox-dependent heterogeneity of yeast cells and characterized growth, as well as proteomic and transcriptomic profiles of distinctive redox subpopulations. We report that, starting in late logarithmic growth, cells of the same age have a bi-modal distribution of oxidation status. A comparative proteomic analysis between these populations identified three key proteins, Hsp30, Dhh1, and Pnc1, which affect basal oxidation levels and may serve as first line of defense proteins in redox homeostasis.
Tail-anchored (TA) proteins are anchored to their corresponding membrane via a single transmembrane segment (TMS) at their C-terminus. In yeast, the targeting of TA proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) can be mediated by the guided entry of TA proteins (GET) pathway, whereas it is not yet clear how mitochondrial TA proteins are targeted to their destination. It has been widely observed that some mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) proteins are mistargeted to the ER when overexpressed or when their targeting signal is masked. However, the mechanism of this erroneous sorting is currently unknown. In this study, we demonstrate the involvement of the GET machinery in the mistargeting of suboptimal MOM proteins to the ER. These findings suggest that the GET machinery can, in principle, recognize and guide mitochondrial and non-canonical TA proteins. Hence, under normal conditions, an active mitochondrial targeting pathway must exist that dominates the kinetic competition against other pathways.
The understanding that organelles are not floating in the cytosol, but rather held in an organized yet dynamic interplay through membrane contact sites, is altering the way we grasp cell biological phenomena. However, we still have not identified the entire repertoire of contact sites, their tethering molecules and functions. To systematically characterize contact sites and their tethering molecules here we employ a proximity detection method based on split fluorophores and discover four potential new yeast contact sites. We then focus on a little-studied yet highly disease-relevant contact, the Peroxisome-Mitochondria (PerMit) proximity, and uncover and characterize two tether proteins: Fzo1 and Pex34. We genetically expand the PerMit contact site and demonstrate a physiological function in beta-oxidation of fatty acids. Our work showcases how systematic analysis of contact site machinery and functions can deepen our understanding of these structures in health and disease.
The past decade has seen striking progress in our understanding of communication between organelles via close appositions of their membranes, known as contact sites. Recent systematic studies highlight that the cellular contact site landscape is much more intricate than previously anticipated and that most, if not all, organelles are capable of establishing such contacts with one another. Hence, the big challenge for this research field is to now step outside the comfort zone of the few highly studied examples of contact sites and a handful of molecules that are transferred at these sites, and to investigate the diversity of organelle contacts and the plethora of their cellular roles.
The eukaryotic cell is organized as a complex grid system where membrane-bound cellular compartments, organelles, must be localized to the right place at the right time. One way to facilitate correct organelle localization and organelle cooperation is through membrane contact sites, areas of close proximity between two organelles that are bridged by protein/lipid complexes. It is now clear that all organelles physically contact each other. The main focus of this review is contact sites of peroxisomes, central metabolic hubs whose defects lead to a variety of diseases. New peroxisome contacts, their tethering complexes and functions have been recently discovered. However, if and how peroxisome contacts contribute to the development of peroxisome-related diseases is still a mystery.
A third of yeast genes encode for proteins that function in the endomembrane system. However, the precise localization for many of these proteins is still uncertain. Here, we visualized a collection of similar to 500N-terminally, green fluorescent protein (GFP), tagged proteins of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. By co-localizing them with 7 known markers of endomembrane compartments we determined the localization for over 200 of them. Using this approach, we create a systematic database of the various secretory compartments and identify several new residents. Focusing in, we now suggest that Lam5 resides in contact sites between the endoplasmic reticulum and the late Golgi. Additionally, analysis of interactions between the COPI coat and co-localizing proteins from our screen identifies a subset of proteins that are COPI-cargo. In summary, our approach defines the protein roster within each compartment enabling characterization of the physical and functional organization of the endomembrane system and its components.
Functional heterogeneity within the lipid droplet (LD) pool of a single cell has been observed, yet the underlying mechanisms remain enigmatic. Here, we report on identification of a specialized LD subpopulation characterized by a unique proteome and a defined geographical location at the nucleus-vacuole junction contact site. In search for factors determining identity of these LDs, we screened ~6,000 yeast mutants for loss of targeting of the subpopulation marker Pdr16 and identified Ldo45 (LD organization protein of 45 kD) as a crucial targeting determinant. Ldo45 is the product of a splicing event connecting two adjacent genes (YMR147W and YMR148W/OSW5/LDO16). We show that Ldo proteins cooperate with the LD biogenesis component seipin and establish LD identity by defining positioning and surface-protein composition. Our studies suggest a mechanism to establish functional differentiation of organelles, opening the door to better understanding of metabolic decisions in cells.
The evolutionary emergence of organelles was a defining process in diversifying biochemical reactions within the cell and enabling multicellularity. However, compartmentalization also imposed a great challenge-the need to import proteins synthesized in the cytosol into their respective sites of function. For example, one-third of all genes encode for proteins that must be targeted and translocated into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which serves as the entry site to the majority of endomembrane compartments. Decades of research have set down the fundamental principles of how proteins get from the cytosol into the ER, and recent studies have brought forward new pathways and additional regulators enabling better definition of the rules governing substrate recognition. In this Cell Science at a Glance article and the accompanying poster, we give an overview of our current understanding of the multifaceted and regulated processes of protein targeting and translocation to the ER.
Lipid droplets (LDs) store lipids and hence serve as energy reservoir and as a source for building-blocks for the organelle membrane systems. LD biology therefore depends on tight communication with other organelles. The unique architecture of LDs, consisting of a neutral lipid core shielded by a phospholipid-monolayer, is however an obstacle to bulk-exchange of bilayer-bounded vesicles with other organelles. In recent years, it is emerging that contact sites, places where two organelles are positioned in close proximity allowing vesicle-independent communication, are an important way to integrate LDs into the organellar landscape. However, few LD contact sites have been studied in depth and our understanding of their structure, extent and function is only starting to emerge. Here, we highlight recent findings on the functions of LD contact sites and on the proteins involved in their formation and hypothesize about the unique characteristics of the contact sites formed by these intriguing organelles. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Recent Advances in Lipid Droplet Biology edited by Rosalind Coleman and Matthijs Hesselink.
The unfolded protein response (UPR) allows cells to adjust secretory pathway capacity according to need. Ire1, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress sensor and central activator of the UPR is conserved from the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to humans. Under ER stress conditions, Ire1 clusters into foci that enable optimal UPR activation. To discover factors that affect Ire1 clustering, we performed a high-content screen using a whole-genome yeast mutant library expressing Ire1-mCherry. We imaged the strains following UPR induction and found 154 strains that displayed alterations in Ire1 clustering. The hits were enriched for iron and heme effectors and binding proteins. By performing pharmacological depletion and repletion, we confirmed that iron (Fe3+) affects UPR activation in both yeast and human cells. We suggest that Ire1 clustering propensity depends on membrane composition, which is governed by heme-dependent biosynthesis of sterols. Our findings highlight the diverse cellular functions that feed into the UPR and emphasize the cross-talk between organelles required to concertedly maintain homeostasis.
Pex3 has been proposed to be important for the exit of peroxisomal membrane proteins (PMPs) from the ER, based on the observation that PMPs accumulate at the ER in Saccharomyces cerevisiae pex3 mutant cells. Using a combination of microscopy and biochemical approaches, we show that a subset of the PMPs, including the receptor docking protein Pex14, localizes to membrane vesicles in S. cerevisiae pex3 cells. These vesicles are morphologically distinct from the ER and do not co-sediment with ER markers in cell fractionation experiments. At the vesicles, Pex14 assembles with other peroxins (Pex13, Pex17, and Pex5) to form a complex with a composition similar to the PTS1 import pore in wild-type cells. Fluorescence microscopy studies revealed that also the PTS2 receptor Pex7, the importomer organizing peroxin Pex8, the ubiquitin conjugating enzyme Pex4 with its recruiting PMP Pex22, as well as Pex15 and Pex25 co-localize with Pex14. Other peroxins (including the RING finger complex and Pex27) did not accumulate at these structures, of which Pexll localized to mitochondria. In line with these observations, proteomic analysis showed that in addition to the docking proteins and Pex5, also Pex7, Pex4/Pex22 and Pex25 were present in Pex14 complexes isolated from pex3 cells. However, formation of the entire importomer was not observed, most likely because Pex8 and the RING proteins were absent in the Pex14 protein complexes. Our data suggest that peroxisomal membrane vesicles can form in the absence of Pex3 and that several PMPs can insert in these vesicles in a Pex3 independent manner.
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the entry site of proteins into the endomembrane system. Proteins exit the ER via coat protein II (COPII) vesicles in a selective manner, mediated either by direct interaction with the COPII coat or aided by cargo receptors. Despite the fundamental role of such receptors in protein sorting, only a few have been identified. To further define the machinery that packages secretory cargo and targets proteins from the ER to Golgi membranes, we used multiple systematic approaches, which revealed 2 uncharacterized proteins that mediate the trafficking and maturation of Pma1, the essential yeast plasma membrane proton ATPase. Ydl121c (Exp1) is an ER protein that binds Pma1, is packaged into COPII vesicles, and whose deletion causes ER retention of Pma1. Ykl077w (Psg1) physically interacts with Exp1 and can be found in the Golgi and coat protein I (COPI) vesicles but does not directly bind Pma1. Loss of Psg1 causes enhanced degradation of Pma1 in the vacuole. Our findings suggest that Exp1 is a Pma1 cargo receptor and that Psg1 aids Pma1 maturation in the Golgi or affects its retrieval. More generally our work shows the utility of high content screens in the identification of novel trafficking components.
Recently, understanding of protein targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) was expanded by the discovery of multiple pathways that function in parallel to the signal recognition particle (SRP). Guided entry of tail-anchored proteins and SRP independent (SND) are two such targeting pathways described in yeast. So far, no human SND component is functionally characterized. Here, we report hSnd2 as the first constituent of the human SND pathway able to support substrate-specific protein targeting to the ER. Similar to its yeast counterpart, hSnd2 is assumed to function as a membrane-bound receptor preferentially targeting precursors carrying C-terminal transmembrane domains. Our genetic and physical interaction studies show that hSnd2 is part of a complex network of targeting and translocation that is dynamically regulated.
Mitochondria, cellular metabolic hubs, perform many essential processes and are required for the production of metabolites such as ATP, iron-sulfur clusters, heme, amino acids and nucleotides. To fulfill their multiple roles, mitochondria must communicate with all other organelles to exchange small molecules, ions and lipids. Since mitochondria are largely excluded from vesicular trafficking routes, they heavily rely on membrane contact sites. Contact sites are areas of close proximity between organelles that allow efficient transfer of molecules, saving the need for slow and untargeted diffusion through the cytosol. More globally, multiple metabolic pathways require coordination between mitochondria and additional organelles and mitochondrial activity affects all other cellular entities and vice versa. Therefore, uncovering the different means of mitochondrial communication will allow us a better understanding of mitochondria and may illuminate disease processes that occur in the absence of proper cross-talk. In this review we focus on how mitochondria interact with all other organelles and emphasize how this communication is essential for mitochondrial and cellular homeostasis. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Membrane Contact Sites edited by Christian Ungermann and Benoit Kornmann.
Internalization of proteins from the plasma membrane (PM) allows for cell-surface composition regulation, signaling of network modulation, and nutrient uptake. Clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) is a major internalization route for PM proteins. During CME, endocytic adaptor proteins bind cargoes at the cell surface and link them to the PM and clathrin coat. Muniscins are a conserved family of endocytic adaptors, including Syp1 in budding yeast and its mammalian orthologue, FCHo1. These adaptors bind cargo via a C-terminal mu-homology domain (mu HD); however, few cargoes exhibiting muniscin-dependent endocytosis have been identified, and the sorting sequence recognized by the mu HD is unknown. To reveal Syp1 cargo-sorting motifs, we performed a phage display screen and used biochemical methods to demonstrate that the Syp1 mu HD binds DxY motifs in the previously identified Syp1 cargo Mid2 and the v-SNARE Snc1. We also executed an unbiased visual screen, which identified the peptide transporter Ptr2 and the ammonium permease Mep3 as Syp1 cargoes containing DxY motifs. Finally, we determined that, in addition to regulating cargo entry through CME, Syp1 can promote internalization of Ptr2 through a recently identified clathrinin-dependent endocytic pathway that requires the Rho1 GTPase. These findings elucidate the mechanism of Syp1 cargo recognition and its role in trafficking.
Keywords: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Keywords: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Keywords: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Keywords: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Keywords: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Mitochondria perform central functions in cellular bioenergetics, metabolism, and signaling, and their dysfunction has been linked to numerous diseases. The available studies cover only part of the mitochondrial proteome, and a separation of core mitochondrial proteins from associated fractions has not been achieved. We developed an integrative experimental approach to define the proteome of east mitochondria. We classified > 3,300 proteins of mitochondria and mitochondriaassociated fractions and defined 901 high-confidence mitochondrial proteins, expanding the set of mitochondrial proteins by 82. Our analysis includes protein abundance under fermentable and nonfermentable growth, submitochondrial localization, single-protein experiments, and subcellular classification of mitochondria-associated fractions. We identified mitochondrial interactors of respiratory chain supercomplexes, ATP synthase, AAA proteases, the mitochondrial contact site and cristae organizing system (MICOS), and the coenzyme Q biosynthesis cluster, as well as mitochondrial proteins with dual cellular localization. The integrative proteome provides a highconfidence source for the characterization of physiological and pathophysiological functions of mitochondria and their integration into the cellular environment.
O-Mannosylation is a type of protein glycosylation initiated in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) by the protein O-mannosyltransferase (PMT) family. Despite the vital role of O-mannosylation, its molecular functions and regulation are not fully characterized. To further explore the cellular impact of protein O-mannosylation, we performed a genome-wide screen to identify Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutants with increased sensitivity towards the PMT-specific inhibitor compound R3A-5a. We identified the cell wall and the ER as the cell compartments affected most upon PMT inhibition. Especially mutants with defects in N-glycosylation, biosynthesis of glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins and cell wall beta-1,6-glucan showed impaired growth when O-mannosylation became limiting. Signaling pathways that counteract cell wall defects and unbalanced ER homeostasis, namely the cell wall integrity pathway and the unfolded protein response, were highly crucial for the cell growth. Moreover, among the most affected mutants, we identified Ost3, one of two homologous subunits of the oligosaccharyltransferase complexes involved in N-glycosylation, suggesting a functional link between the two pathways. Indeed, we identified Pmt2 as a substrate for Ost3 suggesting that the reduced function of Pmt2 in the absence of N-glycosylation promoted sensitivity to the drug. Interestingly, even though S. cerevisiae Pmt1 and Pmt2 proteins are highly similar on the sequence, as well as the structural level and act as a complex, we identified only Pmt2, but not Pmt1, as an Ost3-specific substrate protein.
Background: The merging of genomes in inter-specific hybrids can result in novel phenotypes, including increased growth rate and biomass yield, a phenomenon known as heterosis. Heterosis is typically viewed as the opposite of hybrid incompatibility. In this view, the superior performance of the hybrid is attributed to heterozygote combinations that compensate for deleterious mutations accumulating in each individual genome, or lead to new, over-dominating interactions with improved performance. Still, only fragmented knowledge is available on genes and processes contributing to heterosis.Results: We describe a budding yeast hybrid that grows faster than both its parents under different environments. Phenotypically, the hybrid progresses more rapidly through cell cycle checkpoints, relieves the repression of respiration in fast growing conditions, does not slow down its growth when presented with ethanol stress, and shows increased signs of DNA damage. A systematic genetic screen identified hundreds of S. cerevisiae alleles whose deletion reduced growth of the hybrid. These growth-affecting alleles were condition-dependent, and differed greatly from alleles that reduced the growth of the S. cerevisiae parent.Conclusions: Our results define a budding yeast hybrid that is perturbed in multiple regulatory processes but still shows a clear growth heterosis. We propose that heterosis results from incompatibilities that perturb regulatory mechanisms, which evolved to protect cells against damage or prepare them for future challenges by limiting cell growth.
APOL1 harbors C-terminal sequence variants (G1 and G2), which account for much of the increased risk for kidney disease in sub-Saharan African ancestry populations. Expression of the risk variants has also been shown to cause injury to podocytes and other cell types, but the underlying mechanisms are not understood. We used Drosophila melanogaster and Saccharomyces cerevisiae to help clarify these mechanisms. Ubiquitous expression of the human APOL1 G1 and G2 disease risk alleles caused near-complete lethality in D. melanogaster, with no effect of the G0 nonrisk APOL1 allele, corresponding to the pattern of human disease risk. We also observed a congruent pattern of cellular damage with tissue-specific expression of APOL1. In particular, expression of APOL1 risk variants in D. melanogaster nephrocytes caused cell autonomous accumulation of the endocytic tracer atrial natriuretic factor-red fluorescent protein at early stages and nephrocyte loss at later stages. We also observed differential toxicity of the APOL1 risk variants compared with the APOL1 nonrisk variants in S. cerevisiae, including impairment of vacuole acidification. Yeast strains defective in endosomal trafficking or organelle acidification but not those defective in autophagy displayed augmented APOL1 toxicity with all isoforms. This pattern of differential injury by the APOL1 risk alleles compared with the nonrisk alleles across evolutionarily divergent species is consistent with an impairment of conserved core intracellular endosomal trafficking processes. This finding should facilitate the identification of cell injury pathways and corresponding therapeutic targets of interest in these amenable experimental platforms.
Sphingolipids (SLs) are essential components of cell membranes and are broad-range bioactive signaling molecules. SL levels must be tightly regulated as imbalances affect cellular function and contribute to pathologies ranging from neurodegenerative and metabolic disorders to cancer and aging. Deciphering how SL homeostasis is maintained and uncovering new regulators is required for understanding lipid biology and for identifying new targets for therapeutic interventions. Here we combine omits technologies to identify the changes of the transcriptome, proteome, and phosphoproteome in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae upon SL depletion induced by myriocin. Surprisingly, while SL depletion triggers important changes in the expression of regulatory proteins involved in SL homeostasis, the most dramatic regulation occurs at the level of the phosphoproteome, suggesting that maintaining SL homeostasis demands rapid responses. To discover which of the phosphoproteomic changes are required for the cell's first-line response to SL depletion, we overlaid our omits results with systematic growth screens for genes required during growth in myriocin. By following the rate of SL biosynthesis in those candidates that are both affecting growth and are phosphorylated in response to the drug, we uncovered Atg9, Stp4, and Gvp36 as putative new regulators of SL homeostasis.
Peroxisomes are cellular organelles with vital functions in lipid, amino acid and redox metabolism. The cellular formation and dynamics of peroxisomes are governed by PEX genes; however, the regulation of peroxisome abundance is still poorly understood. Here, we use a high-content microscopy screen in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to identify new regulators of peroxisome size and abundance. Our screen led to the identification of a previously uncharacterized gene, which we term PEX35, which affects peroxisome abundance. PEX35 encodes a peroxisomal membrane protein, a remote homolog to several curvature-generating human proteins. We systematically characterized the genetic and physical interactome as well as the metabolome of mutants in PEX35, and we found that Pex35 functionally interacts with the vesicle-budding-inducer Arf1. Our results highlight the functional interaction between peroxisomes and the secretory pathway.
Peroxisomes are tiny organelles that control important and diverse metabolic processes via their interplay with other organelles, including the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In this issue, Costello et al. (2017. J. Cell Biol. https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.201607055) and Hua et al. (2017. J. Cell Biol. https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.201608128) identify a peroxisome-ER contact site in human cells held together by a tethering complex of VAPA/B (vesicle-associated membrane protein-associated proteins A/B) and ACBD5 (acyl Co-A binding protein 5).
Autophagy plays a central role in the DNA damage response (DDR) by controlling the levels of various DNA repair and checkpoint proteins; however, how the DDR communicates with the autophagy pathway remains unknown. Using budding yeast, we demonstrate that global genotoxic damage or even a single unrepaired double-strand break (DSB) initiates a previously undescribed and selective pathway of autophagy that we term genotoxin-induced targeted autophagy (GTA). GTA requires the action primarily of Mec1/ATR and Rad53/CHEK2 checkpoint kinases, in part via transcriptional up-regulation of central autophagy proteins. GTA is distinct from starvation-induced autophagy. GTA requires Atg11, a central component of the selective autophagy machinery, but is different from previously described autophagy pathways. By screening a collection of similar to 6,000 yeast mutants, we identified genes that control GTA but do not significantly affect rapamycin-induced autophagy. Overall, our findings establish a pathway of autophagy specific to the DNA damage response.
Mitochondria have crucial functions in the cell, including ATP generation, iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis, nucleotide biosynthesis, and amino acid metabolism. All of these functions require tight regulation on mitochondrial activity and homeostasis. As mitochondria biogenesis is controlled by the nucleus and almost all mitochondrial proteins are encoded by nuclear genes, a tight communication network between mitochondria and the nucleus has evolved, which includes signaling cascades, proteins which are dual-localized to the two compartments, and sensing of mitochondrial products by nuclear proteins. All of these enable a crosstalk between mitochondria and the nucleus that allows the ground control' to get information on mitochondria's status. Such information facilitates the creation of a cellular balance of mitochondrial status with energetic needs. This communication also allows a transcriptional response in case mitochondrial function is impaired aimed to restore mitochondrial homeostasis. As mitochondrial dysfunction is related to a growing number of genetic diseases as well as neurodegenerative conditions and aging, elucidating the mechanisms governing the mitochondrial/nuclear communication should progress a better understanding of mitochondrial dysfunctions.
Tail-anchored (TA) proteins are post-translationally inserted into membranes. The TRC40 pathway targets TA proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum via a receptor comprised of WRB and CAML. TRC40 pathway clients have been identified using in vitro assays, however, the relevance of the TRC40 pathway in vivo remains unknown. We followed the fate of TA proteins in two tissue-specific WRB knockout mouse models and found that their dependence on the TRC40 pathway in vitro did not predict their reaction to receptor depletion in vivo. The SNARE syntaxin 5 (Stx5) was extremely sensitive to disruption of the TRC40 pathway. Screening yeast TA proteins with mammalian homologues, we show that the particular sensitivity of Stx5 is conserved, possibly due to aggregation propensity of its cytoplasmic domain. We establish that Stx5 is an autophagy target that is inefficiently membrane-targeted by alternative pathways. Our results highlight an intimate relationship between the TRC40 pathway and cellular proteostasis.
In eukaryotes, up to one-third of cellular proteins are targeted to the endoplasmic reticulum, where they undergo folding, processing, sorting and trafficking to subsequent endomembrane compartments(1). Targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum has been shown to occur co-translationally by the signal recognition particle (SRP) pathway(2) or post-translationally by the mammalian transmembrane recognition complex of 40 kDa (TRC40)(3,4) and homologous yeast guided entry of tail-anchored proteins (GET)(5,6) pathways. Despite the range of proteins that can be catered for by these two pathways, many proteins are still known to be independent of both SRP and GET, so there seems to be a critical need for an additional dedicated pathway for endoplasmic reticulum relay(7,8). We set out to uncover additional targeting proteins using unbiased high-content screening approaches. To this end, we performed a systematic visual screen using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae(9,10), and uncovered three uncharacterized proteins whose loss affected targeting. We suggest that these proteins work together and demonstrate that they function in parallel with SRP and GET to target a broad range of substrates to the endoplasmic reticulum. The three proteins, which we name Snd1, Snd2 and Snd3 (for SRP-independent targeting), can synthetically compensate for the loss of both the SRP and GET pathways, and act as a backup targeting system. This explains why it has previously been difficult to demonstrate complete loss of targeting for some substrates. Our discovery thus puts in place an essential piece of the endoplasmic reticulum targeting puzzle, highlighting how the targeting apparatus of the eukaryotic cell is robust, interlinked and flexible.
Sphingolipids (SL) and their metabolites play key roles both as structural components of membranes and as signaling molecules. Many of the key enzymes and regulators of SL, metabolism were discovered using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and based on the high degree of conservation, a number of mammalian homologs were identified. Although yeast continues to be an important tool for SL research, the complexity of SL structure and nomenclature often hampers the ability of new researchers to grasp the subtleties of yeast SL biology and discover new modulators of this intricate pathway. Moreover, the emergence of lipidomics by mass spectrometry has enabled the rapid identification of SL species in yeast and rendered the analysis of SL composition under various physiological and pathophysiolbgical conditions readily amenable. However, the complex nomenclature of the identified species renders much of the data inaccessible to non-specialists. In this review, we focus on parsing both the classical SL nomenclature and the nomenclature normally used during mass spectrometry analysis, which should facilitate the understanding of yeast SL data and might shed light on biological processes in which SLs are involved. Finally, we discuss a number of putative roles of various yeast SL species.
To optimally perform the diversity of metabolic functions that occur within peroxisomes, cells must dynamically regulate peroxisome size, number and content in response to the cell state and the environment. Except for transcriptional regulation little is known about the mechanisms used to perform this complicated feat. Focusing on the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we used complementary highcontent screens to follow changes in localization of most proteins during growth in oleate. We found extensive changes in cellular architecture and identified several proteins that colocalized with peroxisomes that had not previously been considered peroxisomal proteins. One of the newly identified peroxisomal proteins, Ymr018w, is a protein with an unknown function that is similar to the yeast and human peroxisomal targeting receptor Pex5. We demonstrate that Ymr018w is a new peroxisomal-targeting receptor that targets a subset of matrix proteins to peroxisomes. We, therefore, renamed Ymr018w, Pex9, and suggest that Pex9 is a condition-specific targeting receptor that enables the dynamic rewiring of peroxisomes in response to metabolic needs. Moreover, we suggest that Pex5-like receptors might also exist in vertebrates.
Membrane contact sites enable interorganelle communication by positioning organelles in close proximity using molecular "tethers." With a growing understanding of the importance of contact sites, the hunt for new contact sites and their tethers is in full swing. Determining just what is a tether has proven challenging. Here, we aim to delineate guidelines that define the prerequisites for categorizing a protein as a tether. Setting this gold standard now, while groups from different disciplines are beginning to explore membrane contact sites, will enable efficient cooperation in the growing field and help to realize a great collaborative opportunity to boost its development.
Positive-strand RNAviruses invariably assemble their viral replication complexes (VRCs) by remodeling host intracellular membranes. How viral replication proteins are targeted to specific organelle membranes to initiate VRC assembly remains elusive. Brome mosaic virus (BMV), whose replication can be recapitulated in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, assembles its VRCs by invaginating the outer perinuclear endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane. Remarkably, BMV replication protein 1a (BMV 1a) is the only viral protein required for such membrane remodeling. We show that ER-vesicle protein of 14 kD (Erv14), a cargo receptor of coat protein complex II (COPII), interacts with BMV 1a. Moreover, the perinuclear ER localization of BMV 1a is disrupted in cells lacking ERV14 or expressing dysfunctional COPII coat components (Sec13, Sec24 or Sec31). The requirement of Erv14 for the localization of BMV 1a is bypassed by addition of a Sec24-recognizable sorting signal to BMV 1a or by overexpressing Sec24, suggesting a coordinated effort by both Erv14 and Sec24 for the proper localization of BMV 1a. The COPII pathway is well known for being involved in protein secretion; our data suggest that a subset of COPII coat proteins have an unrecognized role in targeting proteins to the perinuclear ER membrane.
Copyright 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.In order to optimize their multiple cellular functions, peroxisomes must collaborate and communicate with the surrounding organelles. A common way of communication between organelles is through physical membrane contact sites where membranes of two organelles are tethered, facilitating exchange of small molecules and intracellular signaling. In addition contact sites are important for controlling processes such as metabolism, organelle trafficking, inheritance and division. How peroxisomes rely on contact sites for their various cellular activities is only recently starting to be appreciated and explored and the extent of peroxisomal communication, their contact sites and their functions are less characterized. In this review we summarize the identified peroxisomal contact sites, their tethering complexes and their potential physiological roles. Additionally, we highlight some of the preliminary evidence that exists in the field for unexplored peroxisomal contact sites. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Peroxisomes edited by Ralf Erdmann.
The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is ideal for systematic studies relying on collections of modified strains (libraries). Despite the significance of yeast libraries and the immense variety of available tags and regulatory elements, only a few such libraries exist, as their construction is extremely expensive and laborious. To overcome these limitations, we developed a SWAp-Tag (SWAT) method that enables one parental library to be modified easily and efficiently to give rise to an endless variety of libraries of choice. To showcase the versatility of the SWAT approach, we constructed and investigated a library of 1,800 strains carrying SWAT-GFP modules at the amino termini of endomembrane proteins and then used it to create two new libraries (mCherry and seamless GFP). Our work demonstrates how the SWAT method allows fast and effortless creation of yeast libraries, opening the door to new ways of systematically studying cell biology.
Transferring Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells to water is known to extend their lifespan. However, it is unclear whether this lifespan extension is due to slowing the aging process or merely keeping old yeast alive. Here we show that in water-transferred yeast, the toxicity of polyQ proteins is decreased and the aging biomarker 47Q aggregates at a reduced rate and to a lesser extent. These beneficial effects of water-transfer could not be reproduced by diluting the growth medium and depended on de novo protein synthesis and proteasomes levels. Interestingly, we found that upon water-transfer 27 proteins are downregulated, 4 proteins are upregulated and 81 proteins change their intracellular localization, hinting at an active genetic program enabling the lifespan extension. Furthermore, the aging-related deterioration of the heat shock response (HSR), the unfolded protein response (UPR) and the endoplasmic reticulum-associated protein degradation (ERAD), was largely prevented in water-transferred yeast, as the activities of these proteostatic network pathways remained nearly as robust as in young yeast. The characteristics of young yeast that are actively maintained upon water-transfer indicate that the extended lifespan is the outcome of slowing the rate of the aging process.
Membrane traffic is a fundamental biological process that allows cells to respond to and adapt to their environments by rapidly altering cell surface composition. We recently reported that during glucose starvation the budding yeast Saccharomyes cerevisiae internalizes many cell surface proteins and routesthese to the lysosome/vacuole for degradation. This process, and not canonical macro‐autophagy, seems to be required for cell survival during glucose starvation. Because the selection of proteins for internalization appears to be a relatively non‐specific process, we hypothesized alternative endocytic orinternal trafficking pathways might mediate glucose starvation induced degradation. To probe the mechanistic requirements for glucose starvation induced degradation, we performed candidate and genome wide screens. We found that the degradation of proteins upon glucose starvation requires many components of the canonical degradative machinery used under normal conditions: such as ubiquitination, clathrin, HOPS components, and SNARE proteins. However, we also found an unexpected phenotype for genes involved in mitochondrial function. We observed many genes required for oxidative phosphorylation led to the accumulation of endocytosed cargo in compartments similar to those seen in late endocytic mutants such as the ESCRT complex. This suggests that under acute energy stress, yeast can mount sufficient energy reserves to perform the internalization step of endocytosis, however there is insufficient energy to mediate late steps in delivery to the lysosome. These finding may explain the link between mitochondrial dysfunction and lysosomal storage disorders.
Translocation into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the first step in the biogenesis of thousands of eukaryotic endomembrane proteins. Although functional ER translocation has been avidly studied, little is known about the quality control mechanisms that resolve faulty translocational states. One such faulty state is translocon clogging, in which the substrate fails to properly translocate and obstructs the translocon pore. To shed light on the machinery required to resolve clogging, we carried out a systematic screen in Saccharomyces cerevisiae that highlighted a role for the ER metalloprotease Ste24. We could demonstrate that Ste24 approaches the translocon upon clogging, and it interacts with and generates cleavage fragments of the clogged protein. Importantly, these functions are conserved in the human homolog, ZMPSTE24, although disease-associated mutant forms of ZMPSTE24 fail to clear the translocon. These results shed light on a new and critical task of Ste24, which safeguards the essential process of translocation.
Upon amino acid (AA) starvation and TOR inactivation, plasma-membrane-localized permeases rapidly undergo ubiquitination and internalization via the vacuolar protein sorting/ multivesicular body (VPSMVB) pathway and are degraded in the yeast vacuole. We now show that specific Golgi proteins are also directed to the vacuole under these conditions as part of a Golgi quality-control (GQC) process. The degradation of GQC substrates is dependent upon ubiquitination by the defective-for-SREBPcleavage (DSC) complex, which was identified via genetic screening and includes the Tul1 E3 ligase. Using a model GQC substrate, GFP-tagged Yif1, we show that vacuolar targeting necessitates upregulation of the VPS pathway via proteasome-mediated degradation of the initial endosomal sorting complex required for transport, ESCRT-0, but not downstream ESCRT components. Thus, early cellular responses to starvation include the targeting of specific Golgi proteins for degradation, a phenomenon reminiscent of the inactivation of BTN1, the yeast Batten disease gene ortholog.
Communication between organelles is crucial for eukaryotic cells to function as one coherent unit. An important means of communication is through membrane contact sites, where two organelles come into close proximity allowing the transport of lipids and small solutes between them. Contact sites are dynamic in size and can change in response to environmental or cellular stimuli; however, how this is regulated has been unclear. Here, we show that Saccharomyces cerevisiae Lam6 resides in several central contact sites: ERMES (ER/mitochondria encounter structure), vCLAMP (vacuole and mitochondria patch), and NVJ (nuclear vacuolar junction). We show that Lam6 is sufficient for expansion of contact sites under physiological conditions and necessary for coordination of contact site size. Given that Lam6 is part of a large protein family and is conserved in vertebrates, our work opens avenues for investigating the underlying principles of organelle communication.
Exposing cells to folding stress causes a subset of their proteins to misfold and accumulate in inclusion bodies (IBs). IB formation and clearance are both active processes, but little is known about their mechanism. To shed light on this issue, we performed a screen with over 4,000 fluorescently tagged yeast proteins for co-localization with a model mis-folded protein that marks IBs during folding stress. We identified 13 proteins that co-localize to IBs. Remarkably, one of these IB proteins, the uncharacterized and conserved protein Iml2, exhibited strong physical interactions with lipid droplet (LD) proteins. Indeed, we here show that IBs and LDs are spatially and functionally linked. We further demonstrate a mechanism for IB clearance via a sterol-based metabolite emanating from LDs. Our findings therefore uncover a function for Iml2 and LDs in regulating a critical stage of cellular proteostasis.
In recent years, high-throughput experimentation with quantitative analysis and modelling of cells, recently dubbed systems cell biology, has been harnessed to study the organisation and dynamics of simple biological systems. Here, we suggest that the peroxisome, a fascinating dynamic organelle, can be used as a good candidate for studying a complete biological system. We discuss several aspects of peroxisomes that can be studied using high-throughput systematic approaches and be integrated into a predictive model. Such approaches can be used in the future to study and understand how a more complex biological system, like a cell and maybe even ultimately a whole organism, works.
A special group of mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) proteins spans the membrane several times via multiple helical segments. Such multispan proteins are synthesized on cytosolic ribosomes before their targeting to mitochondria and insertion into the MOM. Previous work recognized the import receptor Tom70 and the mitochondrial import (MIM) complex, both residents of the MOM, as required for optimal biogenesis of these proteins. However, their involvement is not sufficient to explain either the entire import pathway or its regulation. To identify additional factors that are involved in the biogenesis of MOM multispan proteins, we performed complementary high-throughput visual and growth screens in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Cardiolipin (CL) synthase (Crd1) appeared as a candidate in both screens. Our results indeed demonstrate lower steady-state levels of the multispan proteins Ugo1, Scm4, and Om14 in mitochondria from crd1Delta cells. Importantly, MOM single-span proteins were not affected by this mutation. Furthermore, organelles lacking Crd1 had a lower in vitro capacity to import newly synthesized Ugo1 and Scm4 molecules. Crd1, which is located in the mitochondrial inner membrane, condenses phosphatidylglycerol together with CDP-diacylglycerol to obtain de novo synthesized CL molecules. Hence, our findings suggest that CL is an important component in the biogenesis of MOM multispan proteins.
Translocation into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is an initial and crucial biogenesis step for all secreted and endomembrane proteins in eukaryotes. Even in the simple eukaryotic model organism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, this is no simple task, as over a fifth of its proteome must translocate into the ER. It's been well established that several ER targeting pathways are present in S. cerevisiae, the best known of which relies on the signal recognition particle (SRP). We set out to shed new light on alternative SRP-independent translocation pathways. To do so, we harnessed unbiased and systematic approaches to further our understanding of the mechanisms by which these pathways function, and what measures are in place if they are dysfunctional. By combining hydropathy-based analysis and high throughput microscopy, we uncovered that over 20% of the yeast secretome translocates without the aid of the SRP. Further investigation of these SRP-independent substrates revealed an additional motif for ER targeting and uncovered a network of cytosolic proteins that facilitate SRP-independent targeting and translocation. Finally, by employing a systematic microscopic screen, we revealed that SRPindependent substrates are subject to pre-translocational monitoring that clears the cytosol of proteins that have failed to translocate in a timely manner. These findings highlight the underappreciated complexity of SRP independent translocation and its central role in enabling the extensive flux of proteins into the ER.
It is well established that import of proteins into mitochondria can occur after their complete synthesis by cytosolic ribosomes. Recently, an additional model was revived, proposing that some proteins are imported co-translationally. This model entails association of ribosomes with the mitochondrial outer membrane, shown to be mediated through the ribosomeassociated chaperone nascent chain-associated complex (NAC). However, the mitochondrial receptor of this complex is unknown. Here, we identify the Saccharomyces cerevisiae outer membrane protein OM14 as a receptor for NAC. OM14 Delta mitochondria have significantly lower amounts of associated NAC and ribosomes, and ribosomes from NAC[Delta] cells have reduced levels of associated OM14 Delta Importantly, mitochondrial import assays reveal a significant decrease in import efficiency into OM14D mitochondria, and OM14-dependent import necessitates NAC. Our results identify OM14 as the first mitochondrial receptor for ribosome- associated NAC and reveal its importance for import. These results provide a strong support for an additional, co-translational mode of import into mitochondria.
Proteolysis by aspartyl intramembrane proteases such as presenilin and signal peptide peptidase (SPP) underlies many cellular processes in health and disease. Saccharomyces cerevisiae encodes a homolog that we named yeast presenilin fold 1 (Ypf1), which we verify to be an SPP-type protease that localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Our work shows that Ypf1 functionally interacts with the ER-associated degradation (ERAD) factors Dfm1 and Doa10 to regulate the abundance of nutrient transporters by degradation. We demonstrate how this noncanonical branch of the ERAD pathway, which we termed "ERAD regulatory'' (ERAD-R), responds to ligand-mediated sensing as a trigger. More generally, we show that Ypf1-mediated posttranslational regulation of plasma membrane transporters is indispensible for early sensing and adaptation to nutrient depletion. The combination of systematic analysis alongside mechanistic details uncovers a broad role of intramembrane proteolysis in regulating secretome dynamics.
Glutathione, the most abundant small-molecule thiol in eukaryotic cells, is synthesized de novo solely in the cytosol and must subsequently be transported to other cellular compartments. The mechanisms of glutathione transport into and out of organelles remain largely unclear. We show that budding yeast Opt2, a close homolog of the plasma membrane glutathione transporter Opt1, localizes to peroxisomes. We demonstrate that deletion of OPT2 leads to major defects in maintaining peroxisomal, mitochondrial, and cytosolic glutathione redox homeostasis. Furthermore, opt2 strains display synthetic lethality with deletions of genes central to iron homeostasis that require mitochondrial glutathione redox homeostasis. Our results shed new light on the importance of peroxisomes in cellular glutathione homeostasis.
Limb-girdle muscular dystrophies (LGMD) are a heterogeneous group of genetically determined muscle disorders with a primary or predominant involvement of the pelvic or shoulder girdle musculature. More than 20 genes with autosomal recessive (LGMD2A to LGMD2Q) and autosomal dominant inheritance (LGMD1A to LGMD1H) have been mapped/identified to date. Mutations are known for six among the eight mapped autosomal dominant forms: LGMD1A (myotilin), LGMD1B (lamin A/C), LGMD1C (caveolin-3), LGMD1D (desmin), LGMD1E (DNAJB6), and more recently for LGMD1F (transportin-3). Our group previously mapped the LGMD1G gene at 4q21 in a Caucasian-Brazilian family. We now mapped a Uruguayan family with patients displaying a similar LGMD1G phenotype at the same locus. Whole genome sequencing identified, in both families, mutations in the HNRPDL gene. HNRPDL is a heterogeneous ribonucleoprotein family member, which participates in mRNA biogenesis and metabolism. Functional studies performed in S. cerevisiae showed that the loss of HRP1 (yeast orthologue) had pronounced effects on both protein levels and cell localizations, and yeast proteome revealed dramatic reorganization of proteins involved in RNA-processing pathways. In vivo analysis showed that hnrpdl is important for muscle development in zebrafish, causing a myopathic phenotype when knocked down. The present study presents a novel association between a muscular disorder and a RNA-related gene and reinforces the importance of RNA binding/processing proteins in muscle development and muscle disease. Understanding the role of these proteins in muscle might open new therapeutic approaches for muscular dystrophies.
In order for a protein to enter the secretory pathway, two crucial steps must occur: it first needs to be targeted to the cytosolic surface of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and then be translocated across the ER membrane. Although for many years studies of targeting focused on the signal recognition particle, recent findings reveal that several alternative targeting pathways exist, some still undescribed, and some only recently elucidated. In addition, many genes implicated in the translocation step have not been assigned a specific function. Here, we will focus on the open questions regarding ER targeting and translocation, and discuss how combining classical biochemistry with systematic approaches can promote our understanding of these essential cellular steps.
Regulation of the localization of mRNAs and local translation are universal features in eukaryotes and contribute to cellular asymmetry and differentiation. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, localization of mRNAs that encode membrane proteins requires the She protein machinery, including the RNA-binding protein She2p, as well as movement of the cortical endoplasmic reticulum (cER) to the yeast bud. In a screen for ER-specific proteins necessary for the directional transport of WSC2 and EAR1 mRNAs, we have identified enzymes that are involved in phospholipid metabolism. Loss of the phospholipid methyltransferase Cho2p, which showed the strongest impact on mRNA localization, disturbs mRNA localization, as well as ER morphology and segregation, owing to an increase in the amount of cellular phosphatidylethanolamine (PtdEtn). Mislocalized mRNPs containing She2p colocalize with aggregated cER structures, suggestive of the entrapment of mRNA and She2p by the elevated PtdEtn level. This was confirmed by the elevated binding of She2p to PtdEtn-containing liposomes. These findings underscore the importance of ER membrane integrity in mRNA transport.
During the lifetime of a cell proteins can change their localization, alter their abundance and undergo modifications, all of which cannot be assayed by tracking mRNAs alone. Methods to study proteomes directly are coming of age, thereby opening new perspectives on the role of post-translational regulation in stabilizing the cellular milieu. Proteomics has undergone a revolution, and novel technologies for the systematic analysis of proteins have emerged. These methods can expand our ability to acquire information from single proteins to proteomes, from static to dynamic measures and from the population level to the level of single cells. Such approaches promise that proteomes will soon be studied at a similar level of dynamic resolution as has been the norm for transcriptomes.
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) identifies and disposes of misfolded secretory pathway proteins through the actions of ER-associated degradation (ERAD) pathways. It is becoming evident that a substantial fraction of the secretome transiently resides in the cytosol before translocating into the ER, both in yeast and in higher eukaryotes. To uncover factors that monitor this transient cytosolic protein pool, we carried out a genetic screen in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Our findings highlighted a pre-insertional degradation mechanism at the cytosolic leaflet of the ER, which we term prERAD. prERAD relies on the concurrent action of the ER-localized ubiquitylation and deubiquitylation machineries Doa10 and Ubp1. By recognizing C-terminal hydrophobic motifs, prERAD tags for degradation pre-inserted proteins that have remained on the cytosolic leaflet of the ER for too long. Our discoveries delineate a new cellular safeguard, which ensures that every stage of secretory pathway protein biogenesis is scrutinized and regulated.
Cellular life depends on continuous transport of lipids and small molecules between mitochondria and the endomembrane system. Recently, endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondrial encounter structure (ERMES) was identified as an important yet nonessential contact for such transport. Using a high-content screen in yeast, we found a contact site, marked by Vam6/Vps39, between vacuoles (the yeast lysosomal compartment) and mitochondria, named vCLAMP (vacuole and mitochondria patch). vCLAMP is enriched with ion and amino-acid transporters and has a role in lipid relay between the endomembrane system and mitochondria. Critically, we show that mitochondria are dependent on having one of two contact sites, ERMES or vCLAMP. The absence of one causes expansion of the other, and elimination of both is lethal. Identification of vCLAMP adds to our ability to understand the complexity of interorganellar crosstalk.
Taste has been the subject of human selection in the evolution of agricultural crops, and acidity is one of the three major components of fleshy fruit taste, together with sugars and volatile flavour compounds. We identify a family of plant-specific genes with a major effect on fruit acidity by map-based cloning of C. melo PH gene (CmPH) from melon, Cucumis melo taking advantage of the novel natural genetic variation for both high and low fruit acidity in this species. Functional silencing of orthologous PH genes in two distantly related plant families, cucumber and tomato, produced low-acid, bland tasting fruit, showing that PH genes control fruit acidity across plant families. A four amino-acid duplication in CmPH distinguishes between primitive acidic varieties and modern dessert melons. This fortuitous mutation served as a preadaptive antecedent to the development of sweet melon cultigens in Central Asia over 1,000 years ago.
Introns are key regulators of eukaryotic gene expression and present a potentially powerful tool for the design of synthetic eukaryotic gene expression systems. However, intronic control over gene expression is governed by a multitude of complex, incompletely understood, regulatory mechanisms. Despite this lack of detailed mechanistic understanding, here we show how a relatively simple model enables accurate and predictable tuning of synthetic gene expression system in yeast using several predictive intron features such as transcript folding and sequence motifs. Using only natural Saccharomyces cerevisiae introns as regulators, we demonstrate fine and accurate control over gene expression spanning a 100 fold expression range. These results broaden the engineering toolbox of synthetic gene expression systems and provide a framework in which precise and robust tuning of gene expression is accomplished.
As part of Cell's 40th anniversary celebration, we are spotlighting 40 principal investigators under the age of 40. Among the questions we posed to this group was, "What is the biggest challenge facing young scientists?'' A sampling of their responses appears below. But to see the full profiles of all 40 scientists, including their responses to this and other questions, please visit http://www.cell.com/40/under40.
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to Golgi trafficking is an essential step in sorting mature, correctly folded, processed and assembled proteins (cargo) from immature proteins and ER-resident proteins. However, the mechanisms governing trafficking selectivity, specificity and regulation are not yet fully understood. To date, three complementary mechanisms have been described that enable regulation of this trafficking step: ER retention of immature proteins in the ER; selective uptake of fully mature proteins into Golgi-bound vesicles; and retrieval from the Golgi of immature cargo that has erroneously exited the ER. Together, these three mechanisms allow incredible specificity and enable the cell to carry out protein quality control and regulate protein processing, oligomerization and expression. This review will focus on the current knowledge of selectivity mechanisms acting during the ER-to-Golgi sorting step and their significance in health and disease. The review will also highlight several key questions that have remained unanswered and discuss the future frontiers.
The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a key model organism of functional genomics, due to its ease and speed of genetic manipulations. In fact, in this yeast, the requirement for homologous sequences for recombination purposes is so small that 40 base pairs (bp) are sufficient. Hence, an enormous variety of genetic manipulations can be performed by simply planning primers with the correct homology, using a defined set of transformation plasmids. Although designing primers for yeast transformations and for the verification of their correct insertion is a common task in all yeast laboratories, primer planning is usually done manually and a tool that would enable easy, automated primer planning for the yeast research community is still lacking. Here we introduce Primers-4-Yeast, a web tool that allows primers to be designed in batches for S. cerevisiae gene-targeting transformations, and for the validation of correct insertions. This novel tool enables fast, automated, accurate primer planning for large sets of genes, introduces consistency in primer planning and is therefore suggested to serve as a standard in yeast research. Primers-4-Yeast is available at: Copyright (c) 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Living organisms change their proteome dramatically to sustain a stable internal milieu in fluctuating environments. To study the dynamics of proteins during stress, we measured the localization and abundance of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae proteome under various growth conditions and genetic backgrounds using the GFP collection. We created a database (DB) called 'LoQAtE' (Localizaiton and Quantitation Atlas of the yeast proteomE), available online at http://www.weizmann.ac.il/molgen/loqate/, to provide easy access to these data. Using LoQAtE DB, users can get a profile of changes for proteins of interest as well as querying advanced intersections by either abundance changes, primary localization or localization shifts over the tested conditions. Currently, the DB hosts information on 5330 yeast proteins under three external perturbations (DTT, H2O2 and nitrogen starvation) and two genetic mutations [in the chaperonin containing TCP1 (CCT) complex and in the proteasome]. Additional conditions will be uploaded regularly. The data demonstrate hundreds of localization and abundance changes, many of which were not detected at the level of mRNA. LoQAtE is designed to allow easy navigation for non-experts in high-content microscopy and data are available for download. These data should open up new perspectives on the significant role of proteins while combating external and internal fluctuations.
Peroxisomes are ubiquitous and dynamic organelles that house many important pathways of cellular metabolism. In recent years it has been demonstrated that mitochondria are tightly connected with peroxisomes and are defective in several peroxisomal diseases. Indeed, these two organelles share metabolic routes as well as resident proteins and, at least in mammals, are connected via a vesicular transport pathway. However the exact extent of cross-talk between peroxisomes and mitochondria remains unclear. Here we used a combination of high throughput genetic manipulations of yeast libraries alongside high content screens to systematically unravel proteins that affect the transport of peroxisomal proteins and peroxisome biogenesis. Follow up work on the effector proteins that were identified revealed that peroxisomes are not randomly distributed in cells but are rather localized to specific mitochondrial subdomains such as mitochondria-ER junctions and sites of acetyl-CoA synthesis. Our approach highlights the intricate geography of the cell and suggests an additional layer of organization as a possible way to enable efficient metabolism. Our findings pave the way for further studying the machinery aligning mitochondria and peroxisomes, the role of the juxtaposition, as well as its regulation during various metabolic conditions. More broadly, the approaches used here can be easily applied to study any organelle of choice, facilitating the discovery of new aspects in cell biology.
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a large, multifunctional and essential organelle. Despite intense research, the function of more than a third of ER proteins remains unknown even in the well-studied model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. One such protein is Spf1, which is a highly conserved, ER localized, putative P-type ATPase. Deletion of SPF1 causes a wide variety of phenotypes including severe ER stress suggesting that this protein is essential for the normal function of the ER. The closest homologue of Spf1 is the vacuolar P-type ATPase Ypk9 that influences Mn2+ homeostasis. However in vitro reconstitution assays with Spf1 have not yielded insight into its transport specificity. Here we took an in vivo approach to detect the direct and indirect effects of deleting SPF1. We found a specific reduction in the luminal concentration of Mn2+ in Delta spf1 cells and an increase following it's overexpression. In agreement with the observed loss of luminal Mn2+ we could observe concurrent reduction in many Mn2+-related process in the ER lumen. Conversely, cytosolic Mn2+-dependent processes were increased. Together, these data support a role for Spf1p in Mn2+ transport in the cell. We also demonstrate that the human sequence homologue, ATP13A1, is a functionally conserved orthologue. Since ATP13A1 is highly expressed in developing neuronal tissues and in the brain, this should help in the study of Mn2+-dependent neurological disorders.
A special group of mitochondrial outer membrane proteins spans the membrane once, exposing soluble domains to both sides of the membrane. These proteins are synthesized in the cytosol and then inserted into the membrane by an unknown mechanism. To identify proteins that are involved in the biogenesis of the single-span model protein Mim1, we performed a high-throughput screen in yeast. Two interesting candidates were the cytosolic cochaperone Djp1 and the mitochondrial import receptor Tom70. Our results indeed demonstrate a direct interaction of newly synthesized Mim1 molecules with Tom70. We further observed lower steady-state levels of Mim1 in mitochondria from djp1 Delta and tom70 tom71 Delta cells and massive mislocalization of overexpressed GFP-Mim1 to the endoplasmic reticulum in the absence of Djp1. Importantly, these phenotypes were observed specifically for the deletion of DJP1 and were not detected in mutant cells lacking any of the other cytosolic cochaperones of the Hsp40 family. Furthermore, the djp1 Delta tom70 Delta tom71 Delta triple deletion resulted in a severe synthetic sick/lethal growth phenotype. Taking our results together, we identified Tom70 and Djp1 as crucial players in the biogenesis of Mim1. Moreover, the involvement of Djp1 provides a unique case of specificity between a cochaperone and its substrate protein.
Keywords: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology; Microbiology; Mycology
Keywords: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology; Microbiology; Mycology
The systematic and complete characterization of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome and proteome has been stalled in some cases by misannotated genes. One such gene is YBR074W, which was initially annotated as two independent open reading frames (ORFs). We now report on Ybr074, a metalloprotease family member that was initially predicted to reside in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that Ybr074 may be an ER quality control protease. Instead, indirect immunofluorescence images indicate that Ybr074 is a vacuolar protein, and by employing protease protection assays, we demonstrate that a conserved M28 metalloprotease domain is oriented within the lumen. Involvement of Ybr074 in ER protein quality control was ruled out by examining the stabilities of several well-characterized substrates in strains lacking Ybr074. Finally, using a proteomic approach, we show that disrupting Ybr074 function affects the levels of select factors implicated in vacuolar trafficking and osmoregulation. Together, our data indicate that Ybr074 is the only multispanning vacuolar membrane protease found in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
The 26S proteasome is the major protein degradation machinery of the cell and is regulated at many levels. One mode of regulation involves accumulation of proteasomes in proteasome storage granules (PSGs) upon glucose depletion. Using a systematic robotic screening approach in yeast, we identify trans-acting proteins that regulate the accumulation of proteasomes in PSGs. Our dataset was enriched for subunits of the vacuolar adenosine triphosphatase (V-ATPase) complex, a proton pump required for vacuole acidification. We show that the impaired ability of V-ATPase mutants to properly govern intracellular pH affects the kinetics of PSG formation. We further show that formation of other protein aggregates upon carbon depletion also is triggered in mutants with impaired activity of the plasma membrane proton pump and the V-ATPase complex. We thus identify cytosolic pH as a specific cellular signal involved both in the glucose sensing that mediates PSG formation and in a more general mechanism for signaling carbon source exhaustion.
Translocation into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the first biogenesis step for hundreds of eukaryotic secretome proteins. Over the past 30 years, groundbreaking biochemical, structural and genetic studies have delineated one conserved pathway that enables ER translocation- the signal recognition particle (SRP) pathway. However, it is clear that this is not the only pathway which can mediate ER targeting and insertion. In fact, over the past decade, several SRP-independent pathways have been uncovered, which recognize proteins that cannot engage the SRP and ensure their subsequent translocation into the ER. These SRP-independent pathways face the same challenges that the SRP pathway overcomes: chaperoning the preinserted protein while in the cytosol, targeting it rapidly to the ER surface and generating vectorial movement that inserts the protein into the ER. This review strives to summarize the various mechanisms and machineries which mediate these stages of SRP-independent translocation, as well as examine why SRP-independent translocation is utilized by the cell. This emerging understanding of the various pathways utilized by secretory proteins to insert into the ER draws light to the complexity of the translocational task, and underlines that insertion into the ER might be more varied and tailored than previously appreciated.
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a complex organelle responsible for a range of functions including protein folding and secretion, lipid biosynthesis, and ion homeostasis. Despite its central and essential roles in eukaryotic cells during development, growth, and disease, many ER proteins are poorly characterized. Moreover, the range of biochemical reactions that occur within the ER membranes, let alone how these different activities are coordinated, is not yet defined. In recent years, focused studies on specific ER functions have been complemented by systematic approaches and innovative technologies for high-throughput analysis of the location, levels, and biological impact of given components. This article focuses on the recent progress of these efforts, largely pioneered in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and also addresses how future systematic studies can be geared to uncover the "dark matter" of uncharted ER functions.
Uncovering the mechanisms underlying robust responses of cells to stress is crucial for our understanding of cellular physiology. Indeed, vast amounts of data have been collected on transcriptional responses in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, only a handful of pioneering studies describe the dynamics of proteins in response to external stimuli, despite the fact that regulation of protein levels and localization is an essential part of such responses. Here we characterized unprecedented proteome plasticity by systematically tracking the localization and abundance of 5,330 yeast proteins at single-cell resolution under three different stress conditions (DTT, H2O2, and nitrogen starvation) using the GFP-tagged yeast library. We uncovered a unique "fingerprint" of changes for each stress and elucidated a new response arsenal for adapting to radical environments. These include bet-hedging strategies, organelle rearrangement, and redistribution of protein localizations. All data are available for download through our online database, LOQATE (localization and quantitation atlas of yeast proteome).
Translocation into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is an initial and crucial biogenesis step for all secreted and endomembrane proteins in eukaryotes. ER insertion can take place through the well-characterized signal recognition particle (SRP)-dependent pathway or the less-studied route of SRP-independent translocation. To better understand the prevalence of the SRP-independent pathway, we systematically defined the translocational dependence of the yeast secretome. By combining hydropathy-based analysis and microscopy, we uncovered that a previously unappreciated fraction of the yeast secretome translocates without the aid of the SRP. Furthermore, we validated a family of SRP-independent substrates-the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins. Studying this family, we identified a determinant for ER targeting and uncovered a network of cytosolic proteins that facilitate SRP-independent targeting and translocation. These findings highlight the underappreciated complexity of SRP-independent translocation, which enables this pathway to efficiently cope with its extensive substrate flux.
The endomembrane system of yeast contains different tail-anchored proteins that are post-translationally targeted to membranes via their C-terminal transmembrane domain. This hydrophobic segment could be hazardous in the cytosol if membrane insertion fails, resulting in the need for energy-dependent chaperoning and the degradation of aggregated tail-anchored proteins. A cascade of GET proteins cooperates in a conserved pathway to accept newly synthesized tail-anchored proteins from ribosomes and guide them to a receptor at the endoplasmic reticulum, where membrane integration takes place. It is, however, unclear how the GET system reacts to conditions of energy depletion that might prevent membrane insertion and hence lead to the accumulation of hydrophobic proteins in the cytosol. Here we show that the ATPase Get3, which accommodates the hydrophobic tail anchor of clients, has a dual function: promoting tail-anchored protein insertion when glucose is abundant and serving as an ATP-independent holdase chaperone during energy depletion. Like the generic chaperones Hsp42, Ssa2, Sis1 and Hsp104, we found that Get3 moves reversibly to deposition sites for protein aggregates, hence supporting the sequestration of tail-anchored proteins under conditions that prevent tail-anchored protein insertion. Our findings support a ubiquitous role for the cytosolic GET complex as a triaging platform involved in cellular proteostasis.
The eukaryotic chaperonin containing t-complex polypeptide 1 (CCT/TRiC) is an ATP-fueled machine that assists protein folding. It consists of two back-to-back stacked rings formed by eight different subunits that are arranged in a fixed permutation. The different subunits of CCT are believed to possess unique substrate binding specificities that are still mostly unknown. Here, we used high-throughput microscopy analysis of yeast cells to determine changes in protein levels and localization as a result of a Glu to Asp mutation in the ATP binding site of subunits 3 (CCT3) or 6 (CCT6). The mutation in subunit CCT3 was found to induce cytoplasmic foci termed P-bodies where mRNAs, which are not translated, accumulate and can be degraded. Analysis of the changes in protein levels and structural modeling indicate that P-body formation in cells with the mutation in CCT3 is linked to the specific interaction of this subunit with Gln/Asn-rich segments that are enriched in many P-body proteins. An in vitro gel-shift analysis was used to show that the mutation in subunit CCT3 interferes with the ability of CCT to bind a Gln/Asn-rich protein aggregate. More generally, the strategy used in this work can be used to unravel the substrate specificities of other chaperone systems.
The division of the S. cerevisiae budding yeast, which produces one mother cell and one daughter cell, is asymmetric with respect to aging. Remarkably, the asymmetry of yeast aging coincides with asymmetric inheritance of damaged and aggregated proteins by the mother cell. Here, we show that misfolded proteins are retained in the mother cell by being sequestered in juxtanuclear quality control compartment (JUNQ) and insoluble protein deposit (IPOD) inclusions, which are attached to organelles. Upon exposure to stress, misfolded proteins accumulate in stress foci that must be disaggregated by Hsp104 in order to be degraded or processed to JUNQ and IPOD. Cells that fail to deliver aggregates to an inclusion pass on aggregates to subsequent generations.
Tail-anchored (TA) proteins have a single C-terminal transmembrane domain, making their biogenesis dependent on posttranslational translocation. Despite their importance, no dedicated insertion machinery has been uncovered for mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) TA proteins. To decipher the molecular mechanisms guiding MOM TA protein insertion, we performed two independent systematic microscopic screens in which we visualized the localization of model MOM TA proteins on the background of mutants in all yeast genes. We could find no mutant in which insertion was completely blocked. However, both screens demonstrated that MOM TA proteins were partially localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in Delta spf1 cells. Spf1, an ER ATPase with unknown function, is the first protein shown to affect MOM TA protein insertion. We found that ER membranes in Delta spf1 cells become similar in their ergosterol content to mitochondrial membranes. Indeed, when we visualized MOM TA protein distribution in yeast strains with reduced ergosterol content, they phenocopied the loss of Spf1. We therefore suggest that the inherent differences in membrane composition between organelle membranes are sufficient to determine membrane integration specificity in a eukaryotic cell.
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the site of synthesis of secreted and membrane proteins. To exit the ER, proteins are packaged into COPII vesicles through direct interaction with the COPII coat or aided by specific cargo receptors. Despite the fundamental role of such cargo receptors in protein traffic, only a few have been identified; their cargo spectrum is unknown and the signals they recognize remain poorly understood. We present here an approach we term "PAIRS" (pairing analysis of cargo receptors), which combines systematic genetic manipulations of yeast with automated microscopy screening, to map the spectrum of cargo for a known receptor or to uncover a novel receptor for a particular cargo. Using PAIRS we followed the fate of similar to 150 cargos on the background of mutations in nine putative cargo receptors and identified novel cargo for most of these receptors. Deletion of the Erv14 cargo receptor affected the widest range of cargo. Erv14 substrates have a wide array of functions and structures; however, they are all membrane-spanning proteins of the late secretory pathway or plasma membrane. Proteins residing in these organelles have longer transmembrane domains (TMDs). Detailed examination of one cargo supported the hypothesis that Erv14 dependency reflects the length rather than the sequence of the TMD. The PAIRS approach allowed us to uncover new cargo for known cargo receptors and to obtain an unbiased look at specificity in cargo selection. Obtaining the spectrum of cargo for a cargo receptor allows a novel perspective on its mode of action. The rules that appear to guide Erv14 substrate recognition suggest that sorting of membrane proteins at multiple points in the secretory pathway could depend on the physical properties of TMDs. Such a mechanism would allow diverse proteins to utilize a few receptors without the constraints of evolving location-specific sorting motifs.
Membrane contact sites (MCS) are close appositions between two organelles that facilitate both signaling and the passage of ions and lipids from one cellular compartment to another. Despite the fact that MCS have been observed for over 50 years now, we still know very little about the molecular machinery required to create them or their structure, function and regulation. In this review, we focus on the three best-characterized contact sites to date: the nucleus-vacuole junction and mitochondria-ER and plasma membrane-ER contact sites. In addition, we discuss principles arising from recent research and highlight several unanswered questions in the field.
The increasing availability and performance of automated scientific equipment in the past decades have brought about a revolution in the biological sciences. The ease with which data can now be generated has led to a new culture of high-throughput science, in which new types of biological questions can be asked and tackled in a systematic and unbiased manner. High-throughput microscopy, also often referred to as high-content screening (HCS), allows acquisition of systematic data at the single-cell level. Moreover, it allows the visualization of an enormous array of cellular features and provides tools to quantify a large number of parameters for each cell. These features make HCS a powerful method to create data that is rich and biologically meaningful without compromising systematic capabilities. In this Commentary, we will discuss recent work, which has used HCS, to demonstrate the diversity of applications and technological solutions that are evolving in this field. Such advances are placing HCS methodologies at the frontier of high-throughput science and enable scientists to combine throughput with content to address a variety of cell biological questions.
To broadly explore mitochondrial structure and function as well as the communication of mitochondria with other cellular pathways, we constructed a quantitative, high-density genetic interaction map (the MITO-MAP) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The MITO-MAP provides a comprehensive view of mitochondrial function including insights into the activity of uncharacterized mitochondrial proteins and the functional connection between mitochondria and the ER. The MITO-MAP also reveals a large inner membrane-associated complex, which we term MitOS for mitochondrial organizing structure, comprised of Fcj1/Mitofilin, a conserved inner membrane protein, and five additional components. MitOS physically and functionally interacts with both outer and inner membrane components and localizes to extended structures that wrap around the inner membrane. We show that MitOS acts in concert with ATP synthase dimers to organize the inner membrane and promote normal mitochondrial morphology. We propose that MitOS acts as a conserved mitochondrial skeletal structure that differentiates regions of the inner membrane to establish the normal internal architecture of mitochondria.
High-throughput methodologies have created new opportunities for studying biological phenomena in an unbiased manner. Using automated cell manipulations and microscopy platforms, it is now possible to easily screen entire genomes for genes that affect any cellular process that can be visualized. The onset of these methodologies promises that the near future will bring with it a more comprehensive and richly integrated understanding of complex and dynamic cellular structures and processes. In this review, we describe how to couple systematic genetic tools in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae alongside robotic visualization systems to attack biological questions. The combination of high-throughput microscopy screens with the powerful, yet simple, yeast model system for studying the eukaryotic cell should pioneer new knowledge in all areas of cell biology.
Keywords: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Keywords: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Biology; Cell Biology
Keywords: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Biology; Cell Biology
Motivation: Genetic interactions between genes reflect functional relationships caused by a wide range of molecular mechanisms. Large-scale genetic interaction assays lead to a wealth of information about the functional relations between genes. However, the vast number of observed interactions, along with experimental noise, makes the interpretation of such assays a major challenge. Results: Here, we introduce a computational approach to organize genetic interactions and show that the bulk of observed interactions can be organized in a hierarchy of modules. Revealing this organization enables insights into the function of cellular machineries and highlights global properties of interaction maps. To gain further insight into the nature of these interactions, we integrated data from genetic screens under a wide range of conditions to reveal that more than a third of observed aggravating (i.e. synthetic sick/lethal) interactions are unidirectional, where one gene can buffer the effects of perturbing another gene but not vice versa. Furthermore, most modules of genes that have multiple aggravating interactions were found to be involved in such unidirectional interactions. We demonstrate that the identification of external stimuli that mimic the effect of specific gene knockouts provides insights into the role of individual modules in maintaining cellular integrity. Availability: We designed a freely accessible web tool that includes all our findings, and is specifically intended to allow effective browsing of our results (http://compbio.cs.huji.ac.il/GIAnalysis). Contact: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Communication between organelles is an important feature of all eukaryotic cells. To uncover components involved in mitochondria/endoplasmic reticulum (ER) junctions, we screened for mutants that could be complemented by a synthetic protein designed to artificially tether the two organelles. We identified the Mmm1/Mdm10/Mdm12/Mdm34 complex as a molecular tether between ER and mitochondria. The tethering complex was composed of proteins resident of both ER and mitochondria. With the use of genome-wide mapping of genetic interactions, we showed that the components of the tethering complex were functionally connected to phospholipid biosynthesis and calcium-signaling genes. In mutant cells, phospholipid biosynthesis was impaired. The tethering complex localized to discrete foci, suggesting that discrete sites of close apposition between ER and mitochondria facilitate interorganelle calcium and phospholipid exchange.
High throughput assays, as well as advances in computational approaches, have recently allowed the acquisition of vast amounts of genetic interaction (GI) data in several organisms. Since GIs are a functional measure that reports on the effect of a mutation in one gene on the phenotype of a mutation in another, they can serve as a powerful tool to study both the function of individual genes and the wiring of biological networks. Therefore, these data hold much promise for advancing our understanding of cellular systems. In this review we focus on the methodologies currently available for using and interpreting large datasets of GIs for functional gene groups (GI maps), and elaborate on the challenges ahead. In addition, we discuss potential applications for the study of evolution and disease mechanisms, and highlight the need for comprehensive integrative analysis to extract the wealth of information found in these maps.