Loss of Ras activity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is suppressed by disruptions of a new kinase gene, YAKI, whose product may act downstream of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase.
The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae contains two functionally redundant genes RAS1 and RAS2, which are homologous to the mammalian ras gene family and are required for vegetative growth. We isolated and characterized five temperature-sensitive alleles of RAS2. In a ras1 strain, these alleles cause growth arrest at the G1 stage of the cell cycle. Revertants capable of growth at the nonpermissive temperature define four recessive, extragenic complementation groups. Suppressors in one complementation group (designated yak1) are particularly intriguing because they appear to alleviate only the growth defect of the temperature-sensitive ras mutants and do not show any of the phenotypes, such as heat shock sensitivity or starvation sensitivity, associated with increased production of cAMP. The YAK1 gene has been cloned, and disruptions generated in vitro reveal that it is not essential for growth and that its loss confers growth to a strain deleted for tpk1, tpk2, and tpk3, the structural genes for the catalytic subunit of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase. These results place Yak1 downstream from, or on a parallel pathway to, the kinase step in the Ras/cAMP pathway. Finally, the coding region predicts a protein with significant homology to the family of protein kinases, suggesting that loss of cAMP-dependent protein kinase function can be suppressed by the loss of a second protein kinase.