An insight into the complex prion-prion interaction network in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
ABSTRACT: The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a valuable model system for studying prion-prion interactions as it contains multiple prion proteins. A recent study from our laboratory showed that the existence of Swi1 prion ([SWI(+)]) and overproduction of Swi1 can have strong impacts on the formation of 2 other extensively studied yeast prions, [PSI(+)] and [PIN(+)] ([RNQ(+)]) (Genetics, Vol. 197, 685-700). We showed that a single yeast cell is capable of harboring at least 3 heterologous prion elements and these prions can influence each other's appearance positively and/or negatively. We also showed that during the de novo [PSI(+)] formation process upon Sup35 overproduction, the aggregation patterns of a preexisting inducer ([RNQ(+)] or [SWI(+)]) can undergo significant remodeling from stably transmitted dot-shaped aggregates to aggregates that co-localize with the newly formed Sup35 aggregates that are ring/ribbon/rod- shaped. Such co-localization disappears once the newly formed [PSI(+)] prion stabilizes. Our finding provides strong evidence supporting the "cross-seeding" model for prion-prion interactions and confirms earlier reports that the interactions among different prions and their prion proteins mostly occur at the initiation stages of prionogenesis. Our results also highlight a complex prion interaction network in yeast. We believe that elucidating the mechanism underlying the yeast prion-prion interaction network will not only provide insight into the process of prion de novo generation and propagation in yeast but also shed light on the mechanisms that govern protein misfolding, aggregation, and amyloidogenesis in higher eukaryotes.
Project description:The budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, harbors several prions that are transmitted as altered, heritable protein conformations. [SWI+ ] is one such prion whose determinant is Swi1, a subunit of the evolutionarily conserved chromatin-remodeling complex SWI/SNF. Despite the importance of Swi1, the molecular events that lead to [SWI+ ] prionogenesis remain poorly understood. In this study, we have constructed floccullin-promoter-based URA3 reporters for [SWI+ ] identification. Using these reporters, we show that the spontaneous formation frequency of [SWI+ ] is significantly higher than that of [PSI+ ] (prion form of Sup35). We also show that preexisting [PSI+ ] or [PIN+ ] (prion form of Rnq1), or overproduction of Swi1 prion-domain (PrD) can considerably promote Swi1 prionogenesis. Moreover, our data suggest a strain-specific effect of overproduction of Sse1 - a nucleotide exchange factor of the molecular chaperone Hsp70, and its interaction with another molecular chaperone Hsp104 on [SWI+ ] maintenance. Additionally, we show that Swi1 aggregates are initially ring/ribbon-like then become dot-like in mature [SWI+ ] cells. In the presence of [PSI+ ] or [PIN+ ], Swi1 ring/ribbon-like aggregates predominantly colocalize with the Sup35 or Rnq1 aggregates; without a preexisting prion, however, such colocalizations are rarely seen during Swi1-PrD overproduction-promoted Swi1 prionogenesis. We have thus demonstrated a complex interacting mechanism of yeast prionogenesis.
Project description:Prions are infectious protein conformations that are generally ordered protein aggregates. In the absence of prions, newly synthesized molecules of these same proteins usually maintain a conventional soluble conformation. However, prions occasionally arise even without a homologous prion template. The conformational switch that results in the de novo appearance of yeast prions with glutamine/aspargine (Q/N)-rich prion domains (e.g., [PSI+]), is promoted by heterologous prions with a similar domain (e.g., [RNQ+], also known as [PIN+]), or by overexpression of proteins with prion-like Q-, N-, or Q/N-rich domains. This finding led to the hypothesis that aggregates of heterologous proteins provide an imperfect template on which the new prion is seeded. Indeed, we show that newly forming Sup35 and preexisting Rnq1 aggregates always colocalize when [PSI+] appearance is facilitated by the [RNQ+] prion, and that Rnq1 fibers enhance the in vitro formation of fibers by the prion domain of Sup35 (NM). The proteins do not however form mixed, interdigitated aggregates. We also demonstrate that aggregating variants of the polyQ-containing domain of huntingtin promote the de novo conversion of Sup35 into [PSI+]; whereas nonaggregating variants of huntingtin and aggregates of non-polyQ amyloidogenic proteins, transthyretin, alpha-synuclein, and synphilin do not. Furthermore, transthyretin and alpha-synuclein amyloids do not facilitate NM aggregation in vitro, even though in [PSI+] cells NM and transthyretin aggregates also occasionally colocalize. Our data, especially the in vitro reproduction of the highly specific heterologous seeding effect, provide strong support for the hypothesis of cross-seeding in the spontaneous initiation of prion states.
Project description:Yeast prions are heritable amyloid aggregates of functional yeast proteins; their propagation to subsequent cell generations is dependent upon fragmentation of prion protein aggregates by molecular chaperone proteins. Mounting evidence indicates the J-protein Sis1 may act as an amyloid specificity factor, recognizing prion and other amyloid aggregates and enabling Ssa and Hsp104 to act in prion fragmentation. Chaperone interactions with prions, however, can be affected by variations in amyloid-core structure resulting in distinct prion variants or 'strains'. Our genetic analysis revealed that Sis1 domain requirements by distinct variants of [PSI+] are strongly dependent upon overall variant stability. Notably, multiple strong [PSI+] variants can be maintained by a minimal construct of Sis1 consisting of only the J-domain and glycine/phenylalanine-rich (G/F) region that was previously shown to be sufficient for cell viability and [RNQ+] prion propagation. In contrast, weak [PSI+] variants are lost under the same conditions but maintained by the expression of an Sis1 construct that lacks only the G/F region and cannot support [RNQ+] propagation, revealing mutually exclusive requirements for Sis1 function between these two prions. Prion loss is not due to [PSI+]-dependent toxicity or dependent upon a particular yeast genetic background. These observations necessitate that Sis1 must have at least two distinct functional roles that individual prions differentially require for propagation and which are localized to the glycine-rich domains of the Sis1. Based on these distinctions, Sis1 plasmid-shuffling in a [PSI+]/[RNQ+] strain permitted J-protein-dependent prion selection for either prion. We also found that, despite an initial report to the contrary, the human homolog of Sis1, Hdj1, is capable of [PSI+] prion propagation in place of Sis1. This conservation of function is also prion-variant dependent, indicating that only one of the two Sis1-prion functions may have been maintained in eukaryotic chaperone evolution.
Project description:Prions are self-perpetuating conformational variants of particular proteins. In yeast, prions cause heritable phenotypic traits. Most known yeast prions contain a glutamine (Q)/asparagine (N)-rich region in their prion domains. [PSI+], the prion form of Sup35, appears de novo at dramatically enhanced rates following transient overproduction of Sup35 in the presence of [PIN+], the prion form of Rnq1. Here, we establish the temporal de novo appearance of Sup35 aggregates during such overexpression in relation to other cellular proteins. Fluorescently-labeled Sup35 initially forms one or a few dots when overexpressed in [PIN+] cells. One of the dots is perivacuolar, colocalizes with the aggregated Rnq1 dot and grows into peripheral rings/lines, some of which also colocalize with Rnq1. Sup35 dots that are not near the vacuole do not always colocalize with Rnq1 and disappear by the time rings start to grow. Bimolecular fluorescence complementation failed to detect any interaction between Sup35-VN and Rnq1-VC in [PSI+][PIN+] cells. In contrast, all Sup35 aggregates, whether newly induced or in established [PSI+], completely colocalize with the molecular chaperones Hsp104, Sis1, Ssa1 and eukaryotic release factor Sup45. In the absence of [PIN+], overexpressed aggregating proteins such as the Q/N-rich Pin4C or the non-Q/N-rich Mod5 can also promote the de novo appearance of [PSI+]. Similar to Rnq1, overexpressed Pin4C transiently colocalizes with newly appearing Sup35 aggregates. However, no interaction was detected between Mod5 and Sup35 during [PSI+] induction in the absence of [PIN+]. While the colocalization of Sup35 and aggregates of Rnq1 or Pin4C are consistent with the model that the heterologous aggregates cross-seed the de novo appearance of [PSI+], the lack of interaction between Mod5 and Sup35 leaves open the possibility of other mechanisms. We also show that Hsp104 is required in the de novo appearance of [PSI+] aggregates in a [PIN+]-independent pathway.
Project description:Prions are infectious, self-propagating protein aggregates that have been identified in evolutionarily divergent members of the eukaryotic domain of life. Nevertheless, it is not yet known whether prokaryotes can support the formation of prion aggregates. Here we demonstrate that the yeast prion protein Sup35 can access an infectious conformation in Escherichia coli cells and that formation of this material is greatly stimulated by the presence of a transplanted [PSI(+)] inducibility factor, a distinct prion that is required for Sup35 to undergo spontaneous conversion to the prion form in yeast. Our results establish that the bacterial cytoplasm can support the formation of infectious prion aggregates, providing a heterologous system in which to study prion biology.
Project description:Prions are infectious proteins that cause fatal neurodegenerative disorders including Creutzfeldt-Jakob and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow) diseases. The yeast [PSI+] prion is formed by the translation-termination factor Sup35, is the best-studied prion, and provides a useful model system for studying such diseases. However, despite recent progress in the understanding of prion diseases, the cellular defense mechanism against prions has not been elucidated. Here, we report that proteolytic cleavage of Sup35 suppresses spontaneous de novo generation of the [PSI+] prion. We found that during yeast growth in glucose media, a maximum of 40% of Sup35 is cleaved at its N-terminal prion domain. This cleavage requires the vacuolar proteases PrA-PrB. Cleavage occurs in a manner dependent on translation but independently of autophagy between the glutamine/asparagine-rich (Q/N-rich) stretch critical for prion formation and the oligopeptide-repeat region required for prion maintenance, resulting in the removal of the Q/N-rich stretch from the Sup35 N terminus. The complete inhibition of Sup35 cleavage, by knocking out either PrA (pep4?) or PrB (prb1?), increased the rate of de novo formation of [PSI+] prion up to ?5-fold, whereas the activation of Sup35 cleavage, by overproducing PrB, inhibited [PSI+] formation. On the other hand, activation of the PrB pathway neither cleaved the amyloid conformers of Sup35 in [PSI+] strains nor eliminated preexisting [PSI+]. These findings point to a mechanism antagonizing prion generation in yeast. Our results underscore the usefulness of the yeast [PSI+] prion as a model system to investigate defense mechanisms against prion diseases and other amyloidoses.
Project description:Amyloidogenic proteins, including prions, assemble into multiple forms of structurally distinct fibres. The [PSI(+)] prion, endogenous to the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is a dominantly inherited, epigenetic modifier of phenotypes. [PSI(+)] formation relies on the coexistence of another prion, [RNQ(+)]. Here, in order to better define the role of amyloid diversity on cellular phenotypes, we investigated how physiological and environmental changes impact the generation and propagation of diverse protein conformations from a single polypeptide. Utilizing the yeast model system, we defined extracellular factors that influence the formation of a spectrum of alternative self-propagating amyloid structures of the Sup35 protein, called [PSI(+)] variants. Strikingly, exposure to specific stressful environments dramatically altered the variants of [PSI(+)] that formed de novo. Additionally, we found that stress also influenced the association between the [PSI(+)] and [RNQ(+)] prions in a way that it superceded their typical relationship. Furthermore, changing the growth environment modified both the biochemical properties and [PSI(+)]-inducing capabilities of the [RNQ(+)] template. These data suggest that the cellular environment contributes to both the generation and the selective propagation of specific amyloid structures, providing insight into a key feature that impacts phenotypic diversity in yeast and the cross-species transmission barriers characteristic of prion diseases.
Project description:SWI/SNF, an evolutionarily conserved ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling complex, has an important role in transcriptional regulation. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, SWI/SNF regulates the expression of approximately 6% of total genes through activation or repression. Swi1, a subunit of SWI/SNF, contains an N-terminal region rich in glutamine and asparagine, a notable feature shared by all characterized yeast prions--a group of unique proteins capable of self-perpetuating changes in conformation and function. Here we provide evidence that Swi1 can become a prion, [SWI+]. Swi1 aggregates in [SWI+] cells but not in nonprion cells. Cells bearing [SWI+] show a partial loss-of-function phenotype of SWI/SNF. [SW+] can be eliminated by guanidine hydrochloride treatment, HSP104 deletion or loss of Swi1. Moreover, we show [SWI+] is dominantly and cytoplasmically transmitted. Our findings reveal a novel mechanism of 'protein-only' inheritance that results in modification of chromatin-remodeling and, ultimately, global gene regulation.
Project description:Mammalian and fungal prions arise de novo; however, the mechanism is poorly understood in molecular terms. One strong possibility is that oxidative damage to the non-prion form of a protein may be an important trigger influencing the formation of its heritable prion conformation. We have examined the oxidative stress-induced formation of the yeast [PSI+] prion, which is the altered conformation of the Sup35 translation termination factor. We used tandem affinity purification (TAP) and mass spectrometry to identify the proteins which associate with Sup35 in a tsa1 tsa2 antioxidant mutant to address the mechanism by which Sup35 forms the [PSI+] prion during oxidative stress conditions. This analysis identified several components of the cortical actin cytoskeleton including the Abp1 actin nucleation promoting factor, and we show that deletion of the ABP1 gene abrogates oxidant-induced [PSI+] prion formation. The frequency of spontaneous [PSI+] prion formation can be increased by overexpression of Sup35 since the excess Sup35 increases the probability of forming prion seeds. In contrast to oxidant-induced [PSI+] prion formation, overexpression-induced [PSI+] prion formation was only modestly affected in an abp1 mutant. Furthermore, treating yeast cells with latrunculin A to disrupt the formation of actin cables and patches abrogated oxidant-induced, but not overexpression-induced [PSI+] prion formation, suggesting a mechanistic difference in prion formation. [PIN+], the prion form of Rnq1, localizes to the IPOD (insoluble protein deposit) and is thought to influence the aggregation of other proteins. We show Sup35 becomes oxidized and aggregates during oxidative stress conditions, but does not co-localize with Rnq1 in an abp1 mutant which may account for the reduced frequency of [PSI+] prion formation.
Project description:Various proteins, like the infectious yeast prions and the noninfectious human Huntingtin protein (with expanded polyQ), depend on a Gln or Asn (QN)-rich region for amyloid formation. Other prions, e.g., mammalian PrP and the [Het-s] prion of Podospora anserina, although still able to form infectious amyloid aggregates, do not have QN-rich regions. Furthermore, [Het-s] and yeast prions appear to differ dramatically in their amyloid conformation. Despite these differences, a fusion of the Het-s prion domain to GFP (Het-sPrD-GFP) can propagate in yeast as a prion called [Het-s](y). We analyzed the properties of two divergent prions in yeast: [Het-s](y) and the native yeast prion [PSI(+)] (prion form of translational termination factor Sup35). Curiously, the induced appearance and transmission of [PSI(+)] and [Het-s](y) aggregates is remarkably similar. Overexpression of tagged prion protein (Sup35-GFP or Het-sPrD-GFP) in nonprion cells gives rise to peripheral, and later internal, ring/mesh-like aggregates. The cells with these ring-like aggregates give rise to daughters with one (perivacuolar) or two (perivacuolar and juxtanuclear) dot-like aggregates per cell. These line, ring, mesh, and dot aggregates are not really the transmissible prion species and should only be regarded as phenotypic markers of the presence of the prions. Both [PSI(+)] and [Het-s](y) first appear in daughters as numerous tiny dot-like aggregates, and both require the endocytic protein, Sla2, for ring formation, but not propagation.