A characterization of the S. cerevisiae KRE6 and SKN1 gene products extends previous genetic studies on their role in (1-->6)-beta-glucan biosynthesis (Roemer, T., and H. Bussey. 1991. Yeast beta-glucan synthesis: KRE6 encodes a predicted type II membrane protein required for glucan synthesis in vivo and for glucan synthase activity in vitro. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 88:11295-11299; Roemer, T., S. Delaney, and H. Bussey. 1993. SKN1 and KRE6 define a pair of functional homologs encoding putative membrane proteins involved in beta-glucan synthesis. Mol. Cell. Biol. 13:4039-4048). KRE6 and SKN1 are predicted to encode homologous proteins that participate in assembly of the cell wall polymer (1-->6)-beta-glucan. KRE6 and SKN1 encode phosphorylated integral-membrane glycoproteins, with Kre6p likely localized within a Golgi subcompartment. Deletion of both these genes is shown to result in a dramatic disorganization of cell wall ultrastructure. Consistent with their direct role in the assembly of this polymer, both Kre6p and Skn1p possess COOH-terminal domains with significant sequence similarity to two recently identified glucan-binding proteins. Deletion of the yeast protein kinase C homolog, PKC1, leads to a lysis defect (Levin, D. E., and E. Bartlett-Heubusch. 1992. Mutants in the S. cerevisiae PKC1 gene display a cell cycle-specific osmotic stability defect. J. Cell Biol. 116:1221-1229). Kre6p when even mildly overproduced, can suppress this pkc1 lysis defect. When mutated, several KRE pathway genes and members of the PKC1-mediated MAP kinase pathway have synthetic lethal interactions as double mutants. These suppression and synthetic lethal interactions, as well as reduced beta-glucan and mannan levels in the pkc1 null wall, support a role for the PKC1 pathway functioning in cell wall assembly. PKC1 potentially participates in cell wall assembly by regulating the synthesis of cell wall components, including (1-->6)-beta-glucan.
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