Overexpression Phenotypes of Plk1 and Ndrg2 in Schizosaccharomyces Pombe: Fission Yeast System for Mammalian Gene Study
The fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe is a single-celled free-living fungus that shares many features with cells of more complicated eukaryotes. Many of the genes required for the cell-cycle control, proteolysis, protein modification, and RNA splicing are highly conserved with those of higher eukaryotes. Moreover, fission yeast has the merit of genetics and its genetic system is already well characterized. As such, the current study evaluated the use of a fission yeast system as a tool for the functional study of mammalian genes and attempted to set up an assay system for novel genes. Since the phenotypes of a deletion mutant and the overexpression of a gene are generally analyzed for a functional study of specific genes in yeast, the present study used overexpression phenotypes to study the functions of mammalian genes. Therefore, based on using a thiamine-repressive promoter, two mammalian genes were expressed in fission yeast, and their overexpressed phenotypes compared with those in mammalian cells. The phenotypes resulting from overexpression were analyzed using a FACS, which analyzes the DNA contents, and a microscope. One of the selected genes was the mammalian Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1), which is activated and plays a role in the mitotic phase of the cell division cycle. The overexpression of various constructs of Plk1 in the HeLa cells caused cell cycle defects, suggesting that the ectopic Plk1s blocked the endogenous Plk1 in the cells. As expected, when the constructs were overexpressed in the fission yeast system, the cells were arrested in mitosis and defected at the end of mitosis. As such, this data suggests that the Plk1-overexpressed phenotypes were similar in the mammalian cells and the fission yeast, thereby enabling the mammalian Plk1 functions to be approximated in the fission yeast. The other selected gene was the N-Myc downstream-regulated gene 2 (ndrg2), which is upregulated during cell differentiation, yet still not well characterized. When the ndrg2 gene was overexpressed in the fission yeast, the cells contained multi-septa. The septa were positioned well, yet their number increased per cell. Therefore, this gene was speculated to block cell division in the last stage of the cell cycle, making the phenotype potentially useful for explaining cell growth and differentiation in mammalian cells. Accordingly, fission yeast is demonstrated to be an appropriate species for the functional study of mammalian genes.
Kwang Hwa Chung, Yong Hyeon Shin, Sue-Nie Park, Hyun Sook Cho, Soon-Ae Yoo, Byung Joo Min, Hyo-Suk Lim and Kyung Hwa Yoo
Y. J. Jang et al., "Overexpression Phenotypes of Plk1 and Ndrg2 in Schizosaccharomyces Pombe: Fission Yeast System for Mammalian Gene Study ", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 277-279, pp. 1-6, 2005