Septins are a conserved family of GTP-binding proteins that assemble into symmetric linear heterooligomeric complexes, which in turn are able to polymerize into apolar filaments and higher-order structures. In budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and other eukaryotes, proper septin organization is essential for processes that involve membrane remodeling, such as the execution of cytokinesis. In yeast, four septin subunits form a Cdc11-Cdc12-Cdc3-Cdc10-Cdc10-Cdc3-Cdc12-Cdc11 heterooctameric rod that polymerizes into filaments thought to form a collar around the bud neck in close contact with the inner surface of the plasma membrane. To explore septin-membrane interactions, we examined the effect of lipid monolayers on septin organization at the ultrastructural level using electron microscopy. Using this methodology, we have acquired new insights into the potential effect of septin-membrane interactions on filament assembly and, more specifically, on the role of phosphoinositides. Our studies demonstrate that budding yeast septins interact specifically with phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) and indicate that the N terminus of Cdc10 makes a major contribution to the interaction of septin filaments with PIP2. Furthermore, we found that the presence of PIP2 promotes filament polymerization and organization on monolayers, even under conditions that prevent filament formation in solution or for mutants that prevent filament formation in solution. In the extreme case of septin complexes lacking the normally terminal subunit Cdc11 or the normally central Cdc10 doublet, the combination of the PIP2-containing monolayer and nucleotide permitted filament formation in vitro via atypical Cdc12-Cdc12 and Cdc3-Cdc3 interactions, respectively.
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