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A Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET)-based System Provides Insight into the Ordered Assembly of Yeast Septin Hetero-octamers*


Prior studies in both budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and in human cells have established that septin protomers assemble into linear hetero-octameric rods with 2-fold rotational symmetry. In mitotically growing yeast cells, five septin subunits are expressed (Cdc3, Cdc10, Cdc11, Cdc12, and Shs1) and assemble into two types of rods that differ only in their terminal subunit: Cdc11-Cdc12-Cdc3-Cdc10-Cdc10-Cdc3-Cdc12-Cdc11 and Shs1-Cdc12-Cdc3-Cdc10-Cdc10-Cdc3-Cdc12-Shs1. EM analysis has shown that, under low salt conditions, the Cdc11-capped rods polymerize end to end to form long paired filaments, whereas Shs1-capped rods form arcs, spirals, and rings. To develop a facile method to study septin polymerization in vitro, we exploited our previous work in which we generated septin complexes in which all endogenous cysteine (Cys) residues were eliminated by site-directed mutagenesis, except an introduced E294C mutation in Cdc11 in these experiments. Mixing samples of a preparation of such single-Cys containing Cdc11-capped rods that have been separately derivatized with organic dyes that serve as donor and acceptor, respectively, for FRET provided a spectroscopic method to monitor filament assembly mediated by Cdc11-Cdc11 interaction and to measure its affinity under specified conditions. Modifications of this same FRET scheme also allow us to assess whether Shs1-capped rods are capable of end to end association either with themselves or with Cdc11-capped rods. This FRET approach also was used to follow the binding to septin filaments of a septin-interacting protein, the type II myosin-binding protein Bni5.

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