erg26-1ts cells harbor defects in the 4alpha-carboxysterol-C3 dehydrogenase activity necessary for conversion of 4,4-dimethylzymosterol to zymosterol. Mutant cells accumulate toxic 4-carboxysterols and are inviable at high temperature. A genetic screen aimed at cloning recessive mutations remediating the temperature sensitive growth defect has resulted in the isolation of four complementation groups, ets1-4 (erg26-1ts temperature sensitive suppressor). We describe the characterization of ets1-1 and ets2-1. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analyses demonstrate that erg26-1ts ets1-1 and erg26-1ts ets2-1 cells do not accumulate 4-carboxysterols, rather these cells have increased levels of squalene and squalene epoxide, respectively. ets1-1 and ets2-1 cells accumulate these same sterol intermediates. Chromosomal integration of ERG1 ERG7 at their loci in erg26-1ts ets1-1 and erg26-1ts and ets2-1 mutants, respectively, results in the loss of accumulation of squalene and squalene epoxide, re-accumulation of 4-carboxysterols and cell inviability at high temperature. Enzymatic assays demonstrate that mutants harboring the ets1-1 allele have decreased squalene epoxidase activity, while those containing the ets2-1 allele show weakened oxidosqualene cyclase activity. Thus, ETS1 and ETS2 are allelic to ERG1 and ERG7, respectively. We have mapped mutations within the erg1-1/ets1-1 (G247D) and erg7-1/ets2-1 (D530N, V615E) alleles that suppress the inviability of erg26-1ts at high temperature, and cause accumulation of sterol intermediates and decreased enzymatic activities. Finally using erg1-1 and erg7-1 mutant strains, we demonstrate that the expression of the ERG25/26/27 genes required for zymosterol biosynthesis are coordinately transcriptionally regulated, along with ERG1 and ERG7, in response to blocks in sterol biosynthesis. Transcriptional regulation requires the transcription factors, Upc2p and Ecm22p.
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