Aggregation and prion-inducing properties of the g-protein gamma subunit ste18 are regulated by membrane association

Tatiana A. Chernova, Zhen Yang, Tatiana S. Karpova, John R. Shanks, Natalia Shcherbik, Keith D. Wilkinson, Yury O. Chernoff

Research output


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5038
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020

Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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