Mutant allele pso7-1, that sensitizes Saccharomyces cerevisiae to photoactivated psoralen, is allelic with COX11, encoding a protein indispensable for a functional cytochrome c oxidase
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The yeast gene PSO7 was cloned from a genomic library by complementation of the pso7-1 mutant's sensitivity phenotype to 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide (4NQO). Sequence analysis revealed that PSO7 is allelic to the 1.1-kb ORF of the yeast gene COX11 which is located on chromosome XVI and encodes a protein of 28-kDa localized in the inner mitochondrial membrane. Allelism of PSO7/COX11 was verified by non-complementation of 4NQO-sensitivity in diploids homo- and hetero-allelic for the pso7-1 and cox11::TRP1 mutant alleles. Sensitivity to 4NQO was the same in exponentially growing cells of the pso7-1 mutant and the cox11::TRP1 disruptant. Allelism of COX11 and PSO7 indicates that the pso7 mutant's sensitivity to photoactivated 3-carbethoxypsoralen and to 4NQO is not caused by defective DNA repair, but rather is due to an altered metabolism of the pro-mutagen 4NQO in the absence of cytochrome oxidase (Cox) in pso7-1/cox11::TRP1 mutants/disruptants. Lack of Cox might also lead to a higher reactivity of the active oxygen species produced by photoactivated 3-carbethoxypsoralen. The metabolic state of the cells is important for their sensitivity phenotype since the largest enhancement of sensitivity to 4NQO between wild-type (WT) and the pso7 mutant occurs in exponentially growing cells, while cells in stationary phase or growing cells in phosphate buffer have the same 4NQO resistance, irrespective of their WT/mutant status. Strains containing the pso7-1 or cox11::TRP1 mutant allele were also sensitive to the oxidative stress-generating agents H2O2 and paraquat. Mutant pso7-1, as well as disruptant cox11::TRP1, harboured mitochondria that in comparison to WT contained less than 5% and no detectable Cox activity, respectively.
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