Farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) synthetase is a key enzyme in isoprenoid biosynthesis which supplies C15 precursors for several classes of essential metabolites including sterols, dolichols, and ubiquinones. The structural gene for FPP synthetase was isolated on a 4.5-kilobase EcoRI genomic restriction fragment from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The clone encodes a 40,483-dalton polypeptide of 342 amino acids with a high degree of similarity to the protein encoded by a putative rat liver clone of FPP synthetase (Clarke, C. F., Tanaka, R. D., Svenson, K., Wamsley, M., Fogelman, A. M., and Edwards, P. A. (1987) Mol. Cell Biol. 7, 3138-3146) and to an active site protein fragment from avian liver FPP synthetase (Brems, D. N., Bruenger, E., and Rilling, H. C. (1981) Biochemistry 20, 3711-3718). When cloned into the yeast shuttle vector YRp17, the 4.5-kilobase EcoRI fragment directed a 2-3-fold over-expression of FPP synthetase activity in transformed yeast cells. The levels of expression were independent of culture growth phase and orientation of the insert, indicative of a functional promoter in the clone. Disruption of the FPP synthetase gene from a diploid yeast strain, followed by dissection and analysis of tetrads, demonstrates that the gene is an essential, single copy number gene in yeast. The gene for FPP synthetase resides on chromosome XI as judged from Southern blots of separated yeast chromosomes.
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