Yeast prions and mnemons are respectively transmissible and non-transmissible self-perpetuating protein assemblies, frequently based on cross-β ordered detergent-resistant aggregates (amyloids). Prions cause devastating diseases in mammals and control heritable traits in yeast. It was shown that the de novo formation of the prion form [PSI+] of yeast release factor Sup35 is facilitated by aggregates of other proteins. Here we explore the mechanism of the promotion of [PSI+] formation by Ste18, an evolutionarily conserved gamma subunit of a G-protein coupled receptor, a key player in responses to extracellular stimuli. Ste18 forms detergent-resistant aggregates, some of which are colocalized with de novo generated Sup35 aggregates. Membrane association of Ste18 is required for both Ste18 aggregation and [PSI+] induction, while functional interactions involved in signal transduction are not essential for these processes. This emphasizes the significance of a specific location for the nucleation of protein aggregation. In contrast to typical prions, Ste18 aggregates do not show a pattern of heritability. Our finding that Ste18 levels are regulated by the ubiquitin-proteasome system, in conjunction with the previously reported increase in Ste18 levels upon the exposure to mating pheromone, suggests that the concentration-dependent Ste18 aggregation may mediate a mnemon-like response to physiological stimuli.
Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry