Expression pattern and phenotypic characterization of the mutant strain reveals target genes and processes regulated by pka1 in the dimorphic fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces japonicus

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The cAMP cascade plays an important role in several biological processes. Thus, study of its molecular details can contribute to a better understanding of these processes, treatment of diseases, or even finding antifungal drug targets. To gain further information about the PKA pathway, and its evolutionarily conserved and species-specific features, the central regulator pka1 gene, which encodes the cAMP-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit, was studied in the less known haplontic, dimorphic fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces japonicus. Namely, this species belongs to a highly divergent phylogenetic branch of fungi. Furthermore, S. japonicus had only a single copy pka1 gene in contrast to the budding yeasts. Therefore, the pka1 deleted mutant was created, whose RNA sequencing and phenotypic studies revealed that the Pka1 regulated at least 373 genes, among them further kinases, phosphatases and transcriptional regulators. It regulated elongation of hyphae, cell size, aging and stress response. Furthermore, half of the pka1 target genes seemed to be conserved in Schizosaccharomyces pombe and S. japonicus. However, there were oppositely regulated genes in the two closely related species. The target genes suggest that this single gene must be able to fulfill all the functions of TPK1-3 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Thus, our results shed light on certain similarities and differences of the PKA pathway of S. japonicus compared to the budding yeasts and confirmed the multifunctionality of the pka1 gene, but further experiments are needed to prove its involvement in the metabolic processes and transport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-497
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Genetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017



  • Dimorphism
  • Protein kinase
  • RNA sequencing
  • Schizosaccharomyces japonicus
  • cAMP cascade
  • pka1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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