Myosin II is important for normal cytokinesis and cell wall maintenance in yeast cells. Myosin II-deficient (myo1) strains of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae are hypersensitive to nikkomycin Z (NZ), a competitive inhibitor of chitin synthase III (Chs3p), a phenotype that is consistent with compromised cell wall integrity in this mutant. To explain this observation, we hypothesized that the absence of myosin type II will alter the normal levels of proteins that regulate cell wall integrity and that this deficiency can be overcome by the overexpression of their corresponding genes. We further hypothesized that such genes would restore normal (wild-type) NZ resistance. A haploid myo1 strain was transformed with a yeast pRS316-GAL1-cDNA expression library and the cells were positively selected with an inhibitory dose of NZ. We found that high expression of the ubiquitin-conjugating protein cDNA, UBC4, restores NZ resistance to myo1 cells. Downregulation of the cell wall stress pathway and changes in cell wall properties in these cells suggested that changes in cell wall architecture were induced by overexpression of UBC4. UBC4-dependent resistance to NZ in myo1 cells was not prevented by the proteasome inhibitor clasto-lactacystin-beta-lactone and required the expression of the vacuolar protein sorting gene VPS4, suggesting that rescue of cell wall integrity involves sorting of ubiquitinated proteins to the PVC/LE-vacuole pathway. These results point to Ubc4p as an important enzyme in the process of cell wall remodelling in myo1 cells.
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