Mms4, a putative transcriptional (co)activator, protects Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells from endogenous and environmental DNA damage
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mms4-1 is one of several Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutants that exhibit an increased sensitivity to methyl methanesulfonate (MMS), but not to UV or X-rays. We have isolated the MMS4 gene by functional complementation of the MMS-sensitive phenotype in the mms4-1 strain. The MMS4 gene encodes a 691-amino acid, 78.7-kDa protein. The deduced Mms4 protein does not show significant homology to any of the known proteins in the database. However, several putative functional domains suggest that it may be a nuclear protein capable of interacting with other proteins. Examination of the mms4Δ mutant phenotype indicates that the mutation not only sensitizes DNA to methylating and ethylating agents, but also to other DNA damage that blocks DNA replication. However, the mms4Δ mutant appears to be more sensitive to chronic treatment than to acute treatment by DNA-damaging agents. Furthermore, the spontaneous mutation rate increases significantly in the mms4Δ mutant. Mms4 alone, when fused to a Gal4 DNA-binding domain, is able to activate PGAL1-lacZ and PGAL1-HIS3 reporter genes in a two-hybrid system; the Mms4 transactivation domain maps to the highly acidic N-terminal region. These results collectively suggest that Mms4 may function as a transcriptional (co)activator and play an important role in DNA repair and/or synthesis.
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