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Multiple chemo-genetic interactions between a toxic metabolite and the ubiquitin pathway in yeast

Albrecht, Delphine, Hürlimann, Hans C., Ceschin, Johanna, Saint-Marc, Christelle, Pinson, Benoît, Daignan-Fornier, Bertrand
Current genetics 2018 v.64 no.6 pp. 1275-1286
alleles, gene dosage, gene overexpression, genetic analysis, humans, metabolites, mutants, phenotype, ubiquitin, ubiquitin-protein ligase, yeasts
AICAR is the precursor of ZMP, a metabolite with antiproliferative properties in yeast and human. We aim at understanding how AICAR (and its active form ZMP) affects essential cellular processes. In this work, we found that ZMP accumulation is synthetic lethal with a hypomorphic allele of the ubiquitin-activating enzyme Uba1. A search for gene-dosage suppressors revealed that ubiquitin overexpression was sufficient to restore growth of the uba1 mutant upon AICAR treatment, suggesting that the ubiquitin pool is critical for cells to cope with AICAR. Accordingly, two mutants with constitutive low ubiquitin, ubp6 and doa1, were highly sensitive to AICAR, a phenotype that could be suppressed by ubiquitin overexpression. We established, by genetic means, that these new AICAR-sensitive mutants act in a different pathway from the rad6/bre1 mutants which were previously reported as sensitive to AICAR (Albrecht et al., Genetics 204:1447–1460, 2016). Two ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes (Ubc4 and Cdc34) and a ubiquitin ligase (Cdc4) were found to contribute to the ability of cells to cope with ZMP. This study illustrates the complexity of chemo-genetic interactions and shows how genetic analyses allow deciphering the implicated pathways, the individual gene effects, and their combined phenotypic contribution. Based on additivity and suppression patterns, we conclude that AICAR treatment shows synthetic interactions with distinct branches of the yeast ubiquitin pathway.