The synthesis of beta-1,3-glucan, the structural component of the yeast cell wall which gives shape to the cell, occurs at the plasma membrane and is the result of the activity of at least a two-component complex. Fks1p is the catalytic subunit directly responsible for the synthesis of beta-1,3-glucan, whilst the second subunit, Rho1p, has a GTP-dependent regulatory role. FKS1 has been characterized in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, where its function is at least partially redundant with that of FKS2/GSC2. FKS homologues have also been identified in several other fungal species, including Candida albicans, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Aspergillus nidulans, Cryptococcus neoformans and Paracoccidiodes brasiliensis. In this work, we have used degenerate oligonucleotides derived from the conserved regions of Fks1ps to isolate the possible FKS homologue genes of the strictly aerobic non-conventional yeast Yarrowia lipolytica. Using this approach, we have isolated a single FKS homologue which we have named YlFKS1; this codes a 1961 amino acid protein that shows a high degree of homology with other Fksps. Expression analysis of YlFKS1 under different conditions affecting the cell wall did not reveal significant differences. Finally, attempts to obtain a Y. lipolytica strain containing a disrupted YlFKS1 allele failed, despite having used two different techniques. Taken together, these results suggest that, unlike S. cerevisiae, YlFKS1 is the only FKS1 homologue in Y. lipolytica and is essential for growth.
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.