Background: Many genes are meiosis and/or sporulation-specifically transcribed during this process. Isolation and analysis of these genes might help us to understand how meiosis and sporulation are regulated. For this purpose, we have isolated a large number of cDNA clones from Schizosaccharomyces pombe whose expression is up-regulated during meiosis.
Results: We have isolated meu10+ gene, which encodes 416 amino acids and bears homology to SPS2 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A strain whose meu10+ gene has been deleted forms no viable spores. Thin-section electron micrographs showed that the meu10Delta strain has abnormally formed spore walls, and then they disrupt, allowing cytoplasmic material to escape. The Meu10-GFP fusion protein is localized to the spore periphery, thereafter returned to the cytoplasm after sporulation. Meu10-GFP localization to the spore wall was almost normal in the bgs2Delta or chs1Delta mutants that lack 1,3-beta-glucan or chitin, respectively. In contrast, 1,3-beta-glucan is abnormally localized in meu10Delta cells. Meu10 has an N-terminal domain with homology to the mammalian insulin receptor and a C-terminal domain with a transmembrane motif. Mutants whose N-terminal or C-terminal domain was truncated were severely defective for sporulation.
Conclusions: Meu10 is a spore wall component and plays a pivotal role in the formation of the mature spore wall structure.