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Mol Cell Biol. 1996 December; 16(12): 6752–6764.
PMCID: PMC231678

The fission yeast pmk1+ gene encodes a novel mitogen-activated protein kinase homolog which regulates cell integrity and functions coordinately with the protein kinase C pathway.

Abstract

We have isolated a gene, pmk1+, a third mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) gene homolog from the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. The predicted amino acid sequence shows the most homology (63 to 65% identity) to those of budding yeast Saccharomyces Mpk1 and Candida Mkc1. The Pmk1 protein contains phosphorylated tyrosines, and the level of tyrosine phosphorylation was increased in the dsp1 mutant which lacks an attenuating phosphatase for Pmk1. The level of tyrosine phosphorylation appears constant during hypotonic or heat shock treatment. The cells with pmk1 deleted (delta pmk1) are viable but show various defective phenotypes, including cell wall weakness, abnormal cell shape, a cytokinesis defect, and altered sensitivities to cations, such as hypersensitivity to potassium and resistance to sodium. Consistent with a high degree of conservation of amino acid sequence, multicopy plasmids containing the MPK1 gene rescued the defective phenotypes of the delta pmk1 mutant. The frog MAPK gene also suppressed the pmk1 disruptant. The results of genetic analysis indicated that Pmk1 lies on a novel MAPK pathway which does not overlap functionally with the other two MAPK pathways, the Spk1-dependent mating signal pathway and Sty1/Spc1/Phh1-dependent stress-sensing pathway. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Mpk1 is involved in cell wall integrity and functions downstream of the protein kinase C homolog. In contrast, in S. pombe, Pmk1 may not act in a linear manner with respect to fission yeast protein kinase C homologs. Interestingly, however, these two pathways are not independent; instead, they regulate cell integrity in a coordinate manner.


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