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Spa2p functions as a scaffold-like protein to recruit the Mpk1p MAP kinase module to sites of polarized growth.

van Drogen F., Peter M.

Scaffold proteins play a major role in regulating MAP kinase pathways. In yeast, the Mpk1p-MAP kinase pathway functions to maintain the integrity of the cytoskeleton and the cell wall. In this module, the MEKK Bck1p functions upstream of the MEKs Mkk1p and Mkk2p, which in turn activate the MAP kinase Mpk1p. Mpk1p regulates several nuclear targets, including the transcription factors Rlm1p and SBF, and the two HMG1-like proteins NHP6A and NHP6B. Here we show that Mpk1p constitutively shuttles between the nucleus and the cytoplasm, and both Mpk1p and Mkk1p localize to sites of polarized growth in a Spa2p-dependent manner. Spa2p belongs to a group of proteins that includes Bni1p, Bud6p, and Pea2p, which are involved in the dynamic organization of the actin cytoskeleton during polarized growth. FRAP analysis shows that Spa2p-GFP is stably anchored at bud tips, whereas Mpk1p binds transiently. Spa2p interacts with Mkk1p and Mpk1p, and membrane bound Spa2p is sufficient to recruit Mkk1p and Mpk1p but not other MAP kinases to the cell cortex. Taken together, these results suggest that Spa2p functions as a scaffold-like protein for the cell wall integrity pathway during polarized growth.

Curr. Biol. 12:1698-1703(2002) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]