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Increase in chitin as an essential response to defects in assembly of cell wall polymers in the ggp1delta mutant of Saccharomyces cerevisiae


, : Increase in chitin as an essential response to defects in assembly of cell wall polymers in the ggp1delta mutant of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Journal of Bacteriology 179(2): 463-469

The GGP1/GAS1 gene codes for a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored plasma membrane glycoprotein of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The ggp1-DELTA mutant shows morphogenetic defects which suggest changes in the cell wall matrix. In this work, we have investigated cell wall glucan levels and the increase of chitin in ggp1-DELTA mutant cells. In these cells, the level of alkali-insoluble 1,6-beta-D-glucan was found to be 50% of that of wild-type cells and was responsible for the observed decrease in the total alkali-insoluble glucan. Moreover, the ratio of alkali-soluble to alkali-insoluble glucan almost doubled, suggesting a change in glucan solubility. The increase of chitin in ggp1-DELTA cells was found to be essential since the chs3-DELTA ggp1-DELTA mutations determined a severe reduction in the growth rate and in cell viability. Electron microscopy analysis showed the loss of the typical structure of yeast cell walls. Furthermore, in the chs3-DELTA ggp1-DELTA cells, the level of alkali-insoluble glucan was 57% of that of wild-type cells and the alkali-soluble/alkali-insoluble glucan ratio was doubled. We tested the effect of inhibition of chitin synthesis also by a different approach. The ggp1-DELTA cells were treated with nikkomycin Z, a well-known inhibitor of chitin synthesis, and showed a hypersensitivity to this drug. In addition, studies of genetic interactions with genes related to the construction of the cell wall indicate a synthetic lethal effect of the ggp1-DELTA kre6-DELTA and the ggp1-DELTA pkc1-DELTA combined mutations. Our data point to an involvement of the GGP1 gene product in the cross-links between cell wall glucans (1,3-beta-D-glucans with 1,6-beta-D-glucans and with chitin). Chitin is essential to compensate for the defects due to the lack of Ggp1p. Moreover, the activities of Ggp1p and Chs3p are essential to the formation of the organized structure of the cell wall in vegetative cells.

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PMID: 8990299


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