In an effort to understand molecular mechanisms of intracellular lipid transport, we have focused upon specific events required for de novo aminophospholipid synthesis in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A genetic system for examining the steps between phosphatidylserine (PtdSer) synthesis in the endoplasmic reticulum and its transport to and decarboxylation by PtdSer decarboxylase 2 in the Golgi/vacuole has been developed. We have isolated a mutant, denoted pstB1, that accumulates PtdSer and has diminished phosphatidylethanolamine formation despite normal PtdSer decarboxylase 2 activity. The lesion in PtdSer metabolism is consistent with a defect in interorganelle lipid transport. A genomic DNA clone that complements the mutation was isolated, and sequencing revealed that the clone contains the STT4 gene, encoding a phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase. The pstB1 mutant exhibits a defect in Stt4p-type phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase activity, and direct gene replacement indicates that STT4 is the defective gene in the mutant. Creation of an STT4 null allele (stt4Delta::HIS3) demonstrates the gene is essential. These results provide evidence that implicates phosphoinositides in the regulation of intracellular aminophospholipid transport.
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