Schizosaccharomyces pombe MAP kinase Sty1 promotes survival of Δppr10 cells with defective mitochondrial protein synthesis

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2022 Sep 26;152:106308. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2022.106308. Online ahead of print.


Deletion of the Schizosaccharomyces pombe pentatricopeptide repeat gene ppr10 severely impairs mitochondrial translation, resulting in defective oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). ppr10 deletion also induces iron starvation response, resulting in increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and reduced viability under fermentative conditions. S. pombe has two principal stress-response pathways, which are mediated by the mitogen-activated protein kinase Sty1 and the basic leucine zipper transcription factor Pap1, respectively. In this study, we examined the roles of Sty1 and Pap1 in the cellular response to the mitochondrial translation defect caused by ppr10 deletion. We found that ppr10 deletion resulted in two waves of stress protein activation. The early response occurred in exponential phase and resulted in the expression of a subset of stress proteins including Gst2 and Obr1. The upregulation of some of these stress proteins in Δppr10 cells in early response is dependent on the basal nuclear levels of Sty1 or Pap1. The late response occurred in early stationary phase and coincided with the stable localization of Sty1 and Pap1 in the nucleus, presumably resulting in persistent activation of a large set of stress proteins. Deletion of sty1 in Δppr10 cells caused severe defects in cell division and growth, and further impaired cell viability. Deletion of the mitochondrial superoxide dismutase gene sod2 whose expression is controlled by Sty1 severely inhibited the growth of Δppr10 cells. Overexpression of sod2 improves the viability of Δppr10 cells. Our results support an important role for Sty1 in counteracting stress induced by ppr10 deletion under fermentative growth conditions.

Keywords: Mitochondria; PPR protein; Pap1; Schizosaccharomyces pombe; Sty1.