Yeast cells respond to mitochondrial dysfunction by altering the expression of a subset of nuclear genes, a process known as retrograde signaling (RS). RS terminates with two transcription factors, Rtg1p and Rtg3p. One positive regulator, Rtg2p, and four negative regulators, Lst8p, Mks1p, and the redundant 14-3-3 proteins, Bmh1p and Bmh2p, control RS upstream of Rtg1/3p. Mks1p is negatively regulated by binding to Rtg2p and positively regulated when bound to Bmh1/2p. Here we report that Grr1p, a component of the SCF(Grr1) E3 ubiquitin ligase, modulates RS by affecting Mks1p levels. Grr1p polyubiquitinates Mks1p not bound to either Rtg2p or to Bmh1/2p, targeting it for degradation. An acidic domain region of Mks1p constitutes the portable Mks1p degron sequence. We have isolated dominant mutations in Grr1p leading to increased Mks1p degradation. These mutations result in a gain of positive charge on the concave surface of the leucine rich repeat (LRR) domain of Grr1p, the proposed substrate binding site. We propose that Mks1p is a central player of RS and is acted upon by multiple regulators of the pathway.
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