Diethylpyrocarbonate modification and site-directed mutagenesis studies of histidine-35 in HM-1 killer toxin (HM-1) have shown that a specific feature, the imidazole side chain of histidine-35, is essential for the expression of the killing activity. In subcellular localization experiments, wild-type HM-1 was in the membrane fraction of Saccharomyces cerevisiae BJ1824, but not the HM-1 analogue in which histidine-35 was replaced by alanine (H35A HM-1). Neither wild-type nor H35A HM-1 was detected in cellular fractions of HM-1-resistant yeast S. cerevisiae BJ1824 rhk1Delta : : URA3 and HM-1-insensitive yeast Candida albicans even after 1 h incubation. H35A HM-1 inhibited the activity of partially purified 1,3-beta-glucan synthase from S. cerevisiae A451, and its extent was almost the same as wild-type HM-1. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments showed that wild-type and H35A HM-1 directly interact with the 1,3-beta-glucan synthase complex. These results strongly suggest that histidine-35 has an important role in the cytocidal action of HM-1 that participates in the binding process to the HM-1 receptor protein on the cell membrane, but it is not essential for the interaction with, and inhibition of, 1,3-beta-glucan synthase.
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