The long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae are similar in their structures and life cycles to animal retroviruses. The yeast LTR retrotransposon Ty3 does not transpose under conditions where the cellular stress response is activated. During stress, mature Ty3 proteins, indicative of the formation of intracellular Ty3 viruslike particles (VLPs), do not accumulate. In order to examine the role of stress proteins in Ty3 transposition, a sensitive genetic assay was developed to measure VLP formation. The assay employs a Ty3 element marked with a mutant allele of the yeast HIS3 gene ( his3 AI). To create a stable His + phenotype, Ty3 must form VLPs, reverse transcribe Ty3 RNA into cDNA, and then insert the cDNA into either chromosomal or plasmid DNA. Using this assay, thermal inhibition of Ty3 transposition was evident at temperatures as low as 30 °C. The level of production of mature Ty3 proteins parallels the transposition frequency. Although overexpression of the yeast UBP3 gene allows VLPs to form and transposition to occur in the constitutively stressed ssa1 ssa2 strain, it does not alleviate the inhibition of these processes during stress induced by heat or ethanol. This suggests that the genetic and physical modes of stress response induction are not equivalent.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 1, 2001
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