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The kinase Isr1 negatively regulates hexosamine biosynthesis in S. cerevisiae

  • Author(s): Alme, Emma Bette
  • Advisor(s): Toczyski, David
  • et al.

Protein phosphorylation is an essential regulatory mechanism that controls most cellular processes, integrating a variety of environmental signals to drive cellular growth. Yeast encode over 100 kinases, yet many remain poorly characterized. The S. cerevisiae gene ISR1 encodes a putative kinase with no ascribed function. Here, we show that ISR1 decreases the synthesis of a critical structural carbohydrate, uridine diphosphate N-acetylglucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc), by mediating inhibition of one of the enzymes responsible for its synthesis, Gfa1. UDP-GlcNAc is the precursor to protein glycosylation, GPI anchor formation, and chitin synthesis, the first two of which are essential and conserved in humans. Throughout the cell cycle, and in response to changing environmental conditions, the cell must balance its use of glucose for energy production and generation of these structural carbohydrates. Here we show that Isr1 is regulated by both cell cycle and nutrient changes, and is rapidly degraded in a phosphorylation dependent manner. Isr1-mediated inhibition of UDP-GlcNAc synthesis may serve as a mechanism of dynamically regulating how the cell utilizes glucose in response to its environment.

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