Targeting the MEF2-like transcription factor Smp1 by the stress-activated Hog1 mitogen-activated protein kinase.

Cell Signaling Unit, Departament de Ciencies Experimentals i de la Salut, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona E-08003, Spain.
Exposure of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to increases in extracellular osmolarity activates the stress-activated Hog1 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), which is essential for cell survival upon osmotic stress. Yeast cells respond to osmotic stress by inducing the expression of a very large number of genes, and the Hog1 MAPK plays a critical role in gene transcription upon stress. To understand how Hog1 controls gene expression, we designed a genetic screen to isolate new transcription factors under the control of the MAPK and identified the MEF2-like transcription factor, Smp1, as a target for Hog1. Overexpression of SMP1 induced Hog1-dependent expression of osmoresponsive genes such as STL1, whereas smp1Delta cells were defective in their expression. Consistently, smp1Delta cells displayed reduced viability upon osmotic shock. In vivo coprecipitation and phosphorylation studies showed that Smp1 and Hog1 interact and that Smp1 is phosphorylated upon osmotic stress in a Hog1-dependent manner. Hog1 phosphorylated Smp1 in vitro at the C-terminal region. Phosphorylation of Smp1 by the MAPK is essential for its function, since a mutant allele unable to be phosphorylated by the MAPK displays impaired stress responses. Thus, our data indicate that Smp1 acts downstream of Hog1, controlling a subset of the responses induced by the MAPK. Moreover, Smp1 concentrates in the nucleus during the stationary phase, and the lack of SMP1 results in cells that lose viability in the stationary phase. Localization of Smp1 depends on HOG1, and consistently, hog1Delta cells also lose viability during this growth phase. These data suggest that Smp1 could be mediating a role for the Hog1 MAPK during the stationary phase.
Mesh Terms:
DNA-Binding Proteins, Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal, Membrane Transport Proteins, Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases, Myogenic Regulatory Factors, Osmotic Pressure, Phosphorylation, Recombinant Proteins, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins, Transcription Factors, Transcriptional Activation
Mol. Cell. Biol. Jan. 01, 2003; 23(1);229-37 [PUBMED:12482976]
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