Kluyveromyces lactis zymocin mode of action is linked to RNA polymerase II function via Elongator

Daniel Jablonowski, Frank Frohloff, Lars Fichtner, Michael J. R. Stark, Raffael Schaffrath

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    63 Citations (Scopus)


    The putative Kluyveromyces lactis zymocin target complex, TOT, from Saccharomyces cerevisiae comprises five Tot proteins, four of which are RNA polymerase II (RNAP II) Elongator subunits. Recently, two more Elongator subunit genes, ELP6 (TOT6) and ELP4 (TOT7), have been identified. Deletions of both TOT6 and TOT7 result in the complex tot phenotype, including resistance to zymocin, thermosensitivity, slow growth and hypersensitivity towards drugs, thus reinforcing the notion that TOT/Elongator may be crucial in signalling zymocicity. Mutagenesis of ELP3/TOT3, the Elongator histone acetyltransferase (HAT) gene, revealed that zymocin sensitivity could be uncoupled from Elongator wild-type function, indicating that TOT interacts genetically with zymocin. To test the possibility that zymocin functions by affecting RNAP II activity in a TOT/Elongator-dependent manner, global poly(A)+ mRNA levels were found to decline drastically on zymocin treatment. Moreover, cells overexpressing Fcp1p, the RNAP II carboxy-terminal domain phosphatase, acquired partial zymocin resistance, whereas cells underproducing RNAP II became zymocin hypersensitive. This suggests that zymocin may convert TOT/Elongator into a cellular poison toxic for RNAP II function and eventually leading to the observed G1 cell cycle arrest.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1095-105
    Number of pages11
    JournalMolecular Microbiology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2001


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