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A yeast model system for functional analysis of the Niemann-Pick type C protein 1 homolog, Ncr1p.

Berger A.C., Hanson P.K., Wylie Nichols J., Corbett A.H.

Niemann-Pick disease type C (NP-C) is a progressive, ultimately fatal, autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder. The major biochemical hallmark of the disease is the endocytic accumulation of low-density lipoprotein-derived cholesterol. The majority of NP-C patients have mutations in the Niemann-Pick type C1 gene, NPC1. This study focuses on the Saccharomyces cerevisiae homolog of the human NPC1 protein encoded by the NCR1 gene. Ncr1p localizes to the vacuole, the yeast equivalent to the mammalian endosome-lysosome system. Here, we identify the first phenotype caused by deletion of NCR1 from the yeast genome, resistance to the ether lipid drug, edelfosine. Our results indicate that edelfosine has a cytotoxic, rather than cytostatic, effect on wildtype yeast cells. We exploit the edelfosine resistance phenotype to assess the function of yeast Ncr1 proteins carrying amino acid changes corresponding to human NPC1 patient mutations. We find that one of these amino acid changes severely compromises Ncr1p function as assessed using the edelfosine resistance assay. These findings establish S. cerevisiae as a model system that can be exploited to analyze the molecular consequences of patient mutations in NPC1 and provide the basis for future genetic studies using yeast.

Traffic 6:907-917(2005) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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