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Disruption and overexpression of the Schizosaccharomyces pombe aph1 gene and the effects on intracellular diadenosine 5',5'''-P1, P4-tetraphosphate (Ap4A), ATP and ADP concentrations.

  • S W Ingram
  • L D Barnes
Publication Date
Sep 15, 2000
  • Biology


Diadenosine oligophosphates are ubiquitous compounds that were discovered over 30 years ago. Diadenosine 5',5"'-P(1), P(4)-tetraphosphate (Ap(4)A) is the most studied member of this family, and its function in yeast is unknown. To investigate possible functions, we changed the intracellular Ap(4)A concentration in Schizosaccharomyces pombe via disruption and overexpression of the aph1 gene, which encodes an Ap(4)A hydrolase (Aph1). S. pombe Aph1 is 52% identical with a human tumour suppressor protein, Fhit, in a core region of 109 amino acids. Disruption of aph1 resulted in an 85% decrease in Ap(4)A hydrolase activity and a 290-fold increase in the intracellular Ap(4)A concentration. The disruption and subsequent increase in intracellular Ap(4)A concentration had no significant effect on the growth of S. pombe. Overexpression of the S. pombe aph1 gene, resulting in 17- and 84-fold increases in Ap(4)A hydrolase activity above wild-type levels, resulted in 60 and 80% decreases respectively in the intracellular Ap(4)A concentration. This represents the first report of a decrease in the intracellular Ap(4)A concentration in response to overexpression of a degradative enzyme in any eukaryotic organism. We describe a new S. pombe expression plasmid, pPOX, which was used to achieve the largest increase in expression of aph1. Overexpression of aph1 at the highest level resulted in a 46% increase in generation time in comparison with the control strain. Neither overexpression nor disruption had any effect on the intracellular ATP or ADP concentrations. This is the first report of ADP and ATP concentrations in S. pombe. These data also indicate that Aph1 functions in vivo to degrade Ap(4)A, and that high-level overexpression of this enzyme reduces the growth rate.

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