The PKC1-MPK1 pathway in yeast functions in the maintenance of cell wall integrity and in the stress response. We have identified a family of genes that are putative regulators of this pathway. WSC1, WSC2, and WSC3 encode predicted integral membrane proteins with a conserved cysteine motif and a WSC1-green fluorescence protein fusion protein localizes to the plasma membrane. Deletion of WSC results in phenotypes similar to mutants in the PKC1-MPK1 pathway and an increase in the activity of MPK1 upon a mild heat treatment is impaired in a wscDelta mutant. Genetic analysis places the function of WSC upstream of PKC1, suggesting that they play a role in its activation. We also find a genetic interaction between WSC and the RAS-cAMP pathway. The RAS-cAMP pathway is required for cell cycle progression and for the heat shock response. Overexpression of WSC suppresses the heat shock sensitivity of a strain in which RAS is hyperactivated and the heat shock sensitivity of a wscDelta strain is rescued by deletion of RAS2. The functional characteristics and cellular localization of WSC suggest that they may mediate intracellular responses to environmental stress in yeast.
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