, Volume 252, Issue 4, pp 456-464

Mutants that show increased sensitivity to hydrogen peroxide reveal an important role for the pentose phosphate pathway in protection of yeast against oxidative stress

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We have isolated several mutants ofSaccharomyces cerevisiae that are sensitive to oxidative stress in a screen for elevated sensitivity to hydrogen peroxide. Two of the sixteen complementation groups obtained correspond to structural genes encoding enzymes of the pentose phosphate pathway. Allelism of thepos10 mutation (POS forperoxidesensitivity) to thezwf1/met1 mutants in the structural gene for glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase was reported previously. The second mutation,pos18, was complemented by transformation with a yeast genomic library. The open reading frame of the isolated gene encodes 238 amino acids. No detectable ribulose 5-phosphate epimerase activity was found in thepos18 mutant, suggesting that the corresponding structural gene is affected in this mutant. For that reason the gene was renamedRPE1 (forribulose 5-phosphateepimerase).RPE1 was localized to chromosome X. The predicted protein has a molecular mass of 25 966 Daltons, a codon adaptation index (CAI) of 0.32, and an isoelectric point of 5.82. Database searches revealed 32 to 37% identity with ribulose 5-phosphate epimerases ofEscherichia coli, Rhodospirillum rubrum, Alcaligenes eutrophus andSolanum tuberosum. We have characterizedRPE1 by testing enzyme activities inrpe1 deletion mutants and in strains that overexpressRPE1, and compared the hydrogen peroxide sensitivity ofrpe1 mutants to that of other mutants in the pentose phosphate pathway. Interestingly, all mutants tested (glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase, gluconate 6-phosphate dehydrogenase, ribulose 5-phosphate epimerase, transketolase, transaldolase) are sensitive to hydrogen peroxide.

Communicated by C. P. Hollenberg