Amyloids are fibrillar protein aggregates resulting from non-covalent autocatalytic polymerization of various structurally and functionally unrelated proteins. Previously we have selected DNA aptamers, which bind specifically to the in vitro assembled amyloid fibrils of the yeast prionogenic protein Sup35. Here we show that such DNA aptamers can be used to detect SDS-insoluble amyloid aggregates of the Sup35 protein, and of some other amyloidogenic proteins, including mouse PrP, formed in yeast cells. The obtained data suggest that these aggregates and the Sup35 amyloid fibrils assembled in vitro possess common conformational epitopes recognizable by aptamers. The described DNA aptamers may be used for detection of various amyloid aggregates in yeast and, presumably, other organisms.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Sup35/eRF3; [PSI+]; amyloid; aptamer; huntingtin; polyglutamine; prion
Despite extensive study, progress in elucidation of biological functions of amyloids and their role in pathology is largely restrained due to the lack of universal and reliable biochemical methods for their discovery. All biochemical methods developed so far allowed only identification of glutamine/asparagine-rich amyloid-forming proteins or proteins comprising amyloids that form large deposits. In this article we present a proteomic approach which may enable identification of a broad range of amyloid-forming proteins independently of specific features of their sequences or levels of expression. This approach is based on the isolation of protein fractions enriched with amyloid aggregates via sedimentation by ultracentrifugation in the presence of strong ionic detergents, such as sarkosyl or SDS. Sedimented proteins are then separated either by 2D difference gel electrophoresis or by SDS-PAGE, if they are insoluble in the buffer used for 2D difference gel electrophoresis, after which they are identified by mass-spectrometry. We validated this approach by detection of known yeast prions and mammalian proteins with established capacity for amyloid formation and also revealed yeast proteins forming detergent-insoluble aggregates in the presence of human huntingtin with expanded polyglutamine domain. Notably, with one exception, all these proteins contained glutamine/asparagine-rich stretches suggesting that their aggregates arose due to polymerization cross-seeding by human huntingtin. Importantly, though the approach was developed in a yeast model, it can easily be applied to any organism thus representing an efficient and universal tool for screening for amyloid proteins.
In eukaryotic cells amyloid aggregates may incorporate various functionally unrelated proteins. In mammalian diseases this may cause amyloid toxicity, while in yeast this could contribute to prion phenotypes. Insolubility of amyloids in the presence of strong ionic detergents, such as SDS or sarcosyl, allows discrimination between amorphous and amyloid aggregates. Here, we used this property of amyloids to study the interdependence of their formation in yeast. We observed that SDS-resistant polymers of proteins with extended polyglutamine domains caused the appearance of SDS or sarcosyl-insoluble polymers of three tested chromosomally-encoded Q/N-rich proteins, Sup35, Rnq1 and Pub1. These polymers were non-heritable, since they could not propagate in the absence of polyglutamine polymers. Sup35 prion polymers caused the appearance of non-heritable sarcosyl-resistant polymers of Pub1. Since eukaryotic genomes encode hundreds of proteins with long Q/N-rich regions, polymer interdependence suggests that conversion of a single protein into polymer form may significantly affect cell physiology by causing partial transfer of other Q/N-rich proteins into a non-functional polymer state.
amyloid; prion; [PSI+]; huntingtin; polyglutamine; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Sup35/eRF3
Yeast prion determinants are related to polymerization of some proteins into amyloid-like fibers. The [PSI+] determinant reflects polymerization of the Sup35 protein. Fragmentation of prion polymers by the Hsp104 chaperone represents a key step of the prion replication cycle. The frequency of fragmentation varies depending on the structure of the prion polymers and defines variation in the prion phenotypes, e.g., the suppressor strength of [PSI+] and stability of its inheritance. Besides [PSI+], overproduction of Sup35 can produce nonheritable phenotypically silent Sup35 amyloid-like polymers. These polymers are fragmented poorly and are present due to efficient seeding with the Rnq1 prion polymers, which occurs by several orders of magnitude more frequently than seeding of [PSI+] appearance. Such Sup35 polymers resemble human nonprion amyloids by their nonheritability, mode of appearance and increased size. Thus, a single protein, Sup35, can model both prion and nonprion amyloids. In yeast, these phenomena are distinguished by the frequency of polymer fragmentation. We argue that in mammals the fragmentation frequency also represents a key factor defining differing properties of prion and nonprion amyloids, including infectivity. By analogy with the Rnq1 seeding of nonheritable Sup35 polymers, the “species barrier” in prion transmission may be due to seeding by heterologous prion of nontransmissible type of amyloid, rather than due to the lack of seeding.
amyloid; prion; Rnq1; Sup35; Ure2; translation termination; yeast
A significant body of evidence shows that polyglutamine (polyQ) tracts are important for various biological functions. The characteristic polymorphism of polyQ length is thought to play an important role in the adaptation of organisms to their environment. However, proteins with expanded polyQ are prone to form amyloids, which cause diseases in humans and animals and toxicity in yeast. Saccharomyces cerevisiae contain at least 8 proteins which can form heritable amyloids, called prions, and most of them are proteins with glutamine- and asparagine-enriched domains. Yeast prion amyloids are susceptible to fragmentation by the protein disaggregase Hsp104, which allows them to propagate and be transmitted to daughter cells during cell divisions. We have previously shown that interspersion of polyQ domains with some non-glutamine residues stimulates fragmentation of polyQ amyloids in yeast and that yeast prion domains are often enriched in one of these residues. These findings indicate that yeast prion domains may have derived from polyQ tracts via accumulation and amplification of mutations. The same hypothesis may be applied to polyasparagine (polyN) tracts, since they display similar properties to polyQ, such as length polymorphism, amyloid formation and toxicity. We propose that mutations in polyQ/N may be favored by natural selection thus making prion domains likely by-products of the evolution of polyQ/N.
amyloid; Hsp104; polyglutamine; polyasparagine; polyQ; polyN; prion; yeast
Fragmentation of amyloid polymers by the chaperone Hsp104 allows them to propagate as prions in yeast. The factors which determine the frequency of fragmentation are unclear, though it is often presumed to depend on the physical strength of prion polymers. Proteins with long polyglutamine stretches represent a tractable model for revealing sequence elements required for polymer fragmentation in yeast, since they form poorly fragmented amyloids. Here we show that interspersion of polyglutamine stretches with various amino acid residues differentially affects the in vivo formation and fragmentation of the respective amyloids. Aromatic residues tyrosine, tryptophan and phenylalanine strongly stimulated polymer fragmentation, leading to the appearance of oligomers as small as dimers. Alanine, methionine, cysteine, serine, threonine and histidine also enhanced fragmentation, while charged residues, proline, glycine and leucine inhibited polymerization. Our data indicate that fragmentation frequency primarily depends on the recognition of fragmentation-promoting residues by Hsp104 and/or its co-chaperones, rather than on the physical stability of polymers. This suggests that differential exposure of such residues to chaperones defines prion variant-specific differences in polymer fragmentation efficiency.
Polyglutamine expansion is responsible for several neurodegenerative disorders, among which Huntington disease is the most well-known. Studies in the yeast model demonstrated that both aggregation and toxicity of a huntingtin (htt) protein with an expanded polyglutamine region strictly depend on the presence of the prion form of Rnq1 protein ([PIN+]), which has a glutamine/asparagine-rich domain.
Here, we showed that aggregation and toxicity of mutant htt depended on [PIN+] only quantitatively: the presence of [PIN+] elevated the toxicity and the levels of htt detergent-insoluble polymers. In cells lacking [PIN+], toxicity of mutant htt was due to the polymerization and inactivation of the essential glutamine/asparagine-rich Sup35 protein and related inactivation of another essential protein, Sup45, most probably via its sequestration into Sup35 aggregates. However, inhibition of growth of [PIN+] cells depended on Sup35/Sup45 depletion only partially, suggesting that there are other sources of mutant htt toxicity in yeast.
The obtained data suggest that induced polymerization of essential glutamine/asparagine-rich proteins and related sequestration of other proteins which interact with these polymers represent an essential source of htt toxicity.
Replicating amyloids, called prions, are responsible for transmissible
neurodegenerative diseases in mammals and some heritable phenotypes in fungi.
The transmission of prions between species is usually inhibited, being highly
sensitive to small differences in amino acid sequence of the prion-forming
proteins. To understand the molecular basis of this prion interspecies barrier,
we studied the transmission of the
[PSI+] prion state from
Sup35 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to hybrid Sup35 proteins with
prion-forming domains from four other closely related
Saccharomyces species. Whereas all the hybrid Sup35
proteins could adopt a prion form in S. cerevisiae, they could
not readily acquire the prion form from the
[PSI+] prion of S.
cerevisiae. Expression of the hybrid Sup35 proteins in S.
cells often resulted in frequent loss of the native
[PSI+] prion. Furthermore,
all hybrid Sup35 proteins showed different patterns of interaction with the
native [PSI+] prion in terms of
co-polymerization, acquisition of the prion state, and induced prion loss, all
of which were also dependent on the
[PSI+] variant. The
observed loss of S. cerevisiae
[PSI+] can be related to
inhibition of prion polymerization of S. cerevisiae Sup35 and
formation of a non-heritable form of amyloid. We have therefore identified two
distinct molecular origins of prion transmission barriers between closely
sequence-related prion proteins: first, the inability of heterologous proteins
to co-aggregate with host prion polymers, and second, acquisition by these
proteins of a non-heritable amyloid fold.
Amyloid; Prions; Protein Folding; Translation Release Factors; Yeast; Saccharomyces; Sup35; Prion Interference; Prion Species Barrier
Termination of translation in eukaryotes is controlled by two interacting polypeptide chain release factors, eRF1 and eRF3. While eRF1 recognizes nonsense codons, eRF3 facilitates polypeptide chain release from the ribosome in a GTP-dependent manner. Besides termination, both release factors have essential, but poorly characterized functions outside of translation.
To characterize further the functions of yeast eRF1 and eRF3, a genetic screen for their novel partner proteins was performed. As a result, the genes for γ (TEF4 and TEF3/CAM1) and α (TEF5/EFB1) subunits of the translation elongation factor eEF1B, known to catalyze the exchange of bound GDP for GTP on eEF1A, were revealed. These genes act as dosage suppressors of a synthetic growth defect caused by some mutations in the SUP45 and SUP35 genes encoding eRF1 and eRF3, respectively. Extra copies of TEF5 and TEF3 can also suppress the temperature sensitivity of some sup45 and sup35 mutants and reduce nonsense codon readthrough caused by these omnipotent suppressors. Besides, overproduction of eEF1Bα reduces nonsense codon readthrough in the strain carrying suppressor tRNA. Such effects were not shown for extra copies of TEF2, which encodes eEF1A, thus indicating that they were not due to eEF1A activation.
The data obtained demonstrate involvement of the translation elongation factor eEF1B in modulating the functions of translation termination factors and suggest its possible role in GDP for GTP exchange on eRF3.
In yeast, fragmentation of amyloid polymers by the Hsp104 chaperone allows them to propagate as prions. The prion-forming domain of the yeast Sup35 protein is rich in glutamine, asparagine, tyrosine, and glycine residues, which may define its prion properties. Long polyglutamine stretches can also drive amyloid polymerization in yeast, but these polymers are unable to propagate because of poor fragmentation and exist through constant seeding with the Rnq1 prion polymers. We proposed that fragmentation of polyglutamine amyloids may be improved by incorporation of hydrophobic amino acid residues into polyglutamine stretches. To investigate this, we constructed sets of polyglutamine with or without tyrosine stretches fused to the non-prion domains of Sup35. Polymerization of these chimeras started rapidly, and its efficiency increased with stretch size. Polymerization of proteins with polyglutamine stretches shorter than 70 residues required Rnq1 prion seeds. Proteins with longer stretches polymerized independently of Rnq1 and thus could propagate. The presence of tyrosines within polyglutamine stretches dramatically enhanced polymer fragmentation and allowed polymer propagation in the absence of Rnq1 and, in some cases, of Hsp104.
Termination of translation in eukaryotes requires two release factors, eRF1, which recognizes all three nonsense codons and facilitates release of the nascent polypeptide chain, and eRF3 stimulating translation termination in a GTP-depended manner. eRF3 from different organisms possess a highly conservative C region (eRF3C), which is responsible for the function in translation termination, and almost always contain the N-terminal extension, which is inessential and vary both in structure and length. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae the N-terminal region of eRF3 is responsible for conversion of this protein into the aggregated and functionally inactive prion form.
Here, we examined functional importance of the N-terminal region of a non-prion form of yeast eRF3. The screen for mutations which are lethal in combination with the SUP35-C allele encoding eRF3C revealed the sup45 mutations which alter the N-terminal domain of eRF1 and increase nonsense codon readthrough. However, further analysis showed that synthetic lethality was not caused by the increased levels of nonsense codon readthrough. Dominant mutations in SUP35-C were obtained and characterized, which remove its synthetic lethality with the identified sup45 mutations, thus indicating that synthetic lethality was not due to a disruption of interaction with proteins that bind to this eRF3 region.
These and other data demonstrate that the N-terminal region of eRF3 is involved both in modulation of the efficiency of translation termination and functioning of the eRF1/eRF3 complex outside of translation termination.
In eukaryotic cells, COPI vesicles retrieve resident proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum and mediate intra-Golgi transport. Here, we studied the Hansenula polymorpha homologue of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae RET1 gene, encoding α-COP, a subunit of the COPI protein complex. H. polymorpha ret1 mutants, which expressed truncated α-COP lacking more than 300 C-terminal amino acids, manifested an enhanced ability to secrete human urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and an inability to grow with a shortage of Ca2+ ions, whereas a lack of α-COP expression was lethal. The α-COP defect also caused alteration of intracellular transport of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored protein Gas1p, secretion of abnormal uPA forms, and reductions in the levels of Pmr1p, a Golgi Ca2+-ATPase. Overexpression of Pmr1p suppressed some ret1 mutant phenotypes, namely, Ca2+ dependence and enhanced uPA secretion. The role of COPI-dependent vesicular transport in cellular Ca2+ homeostasis is discussed.
A high frequency of transformation and an equal gene dosage between transformants are generally required for activity-based selection of mutants from a library obtained by directed evolution. An efficient library construction method was developed by using in vivo recombination in Hansenula polymorpha. Various linear sets of vectors and insert fragments were transformed and analyzed to optimize the in vivo recombination system. A telomere-originated autonomously replicating sequence (ARS) of H. polymorpha, reported as a recombination hot spot, facilitates in vivo recombination between the linear transforming DNA and chromosomes. In vivo recombination of two linear DNA fragments containing the telomeric ARS drastically increases the transforming frequency, up to 10-fold, compared to the frequency of circular plasmids. Direct integration of the one-end-recombined linear fragment into chromosomes produced transformants with single-copy gene integration, resulting in the same expression level for the reporter protein between transformants. This newly developed in vivo recombination system of H. polymorpha provides a suitable library for activity-based selection of mutants after directed evolution.
Secretion of recombinant proteins in yeast can be affected by their improper folding in the endoplasmic reticulum and subsequent elimination of the misfolded molecules via the endoplasmic reticulum associated protein degradation pathway. Recombinant proteins can also be degraded by the vacuolar protease complex. Human urokinase type plasminogen activator (uPA) is poorly secreted by yeast but the mechanisms interfering with its secretion are largely unknown.
We show that in Hansenula polymorpha overexpression worsens uPA secretion and stimulates its intracellular aggregation. The absence of the Golgi modifications in accumulated uPA suggests that aggregation occurs within the endoplasmic reticulum. Deletion analysis has shown that the N-terminal domains were responsible for poor uPA secretion and propensity to aggregate. Mutation abolishing N-glycosylation decreased the efficiency of uPA secretion and increased its aggregation degree. Retention of uPA in the endoplasmic reticulum stimulates its aggregation.
The data obtained demonstrate that defect of uPA secretion in yeast is related to its retention in the endoplasmic reticulum. Accumulation of uPA within the endoplasmic reticulum disturbs its proper folding and leads to formation of high molecular weight aggregates.
Termination of translation in eukaryotes is controlled by two interacting polypeptide chain release factors, eRFl and eRF3. eRFl recognizes nonsense codons UAA, UAG and UGA, while eRF3 stimulates polypeptide release from the ribosome in a GTP- and eRFl – dependent manner. Recent studies has shown that proteins interacting with these release factors can modulate the efficiency of nonsense codon readthrough.
We have isolated a nonessential yeast gene, which causes suppression of nonsense mutations, being in a multicopy state. This gene encodes a protein designated Itt1p, possessing a zinc finger domain characteristic of the TRIAD proteins of higher eukaryotes. Overexpression of Itt1p decreases the efficiency of translation termination, resulting in the readthrough of all three types of nonsense codons. Itt1p interacts in vitro with both eRFl and eRF3. Overexpression of eRFl, but not of eRF3, abolishes the nonsense suppressor effect of overexpressed Itt1p.
The data obtained demonstrate that Itt1p can modulate the efficiency of translation termination in yeast. This protein possesses a zinc finger domain characteristic of the TRIAD proteins of higher eukaryotes, and this is a first observation of such protein being involved in translation.