RGS proteins and G protein signalling
The work within this thesis is concerned with the creation of a temperature-sensitive Schizosaccharomyces pombe marker protein, and the regulation of the pheromone communication system of Sz. pombe reporter strains by RGS proteins. There are a limited number of marker proteins available for use in the genetic manipulation of Sz. pombe, and the generation of a temperature-sensitive Ura4p was envisaged to expand the scope of carrying out sequential gene disruptions in the fission yeast. PCR-based mutagenesis was used to introduce mutations in the ura4 cassette, and a leucine to proline mutation identified at residue 261 in the ura4 open reading frame conferred a temperature-sensitive requirement for uracil. To demonstrate the use of the Ura4sp marker in gene disruption, the Sz. pombe irpl gene was disrupted with the ura4u cassette, and subsequently, the prkl gene was disrupted with the wild-type ura4 cassette. RGS proteins are a recently discovered family of proteins that negatively regulate G protein-coupled signalling pathways. This thesis describes the ability of mammalian RGS proteins to regulate the pheromone communication system of Sz. pombe reporter strains. Human RGS 1 and human RGS4 displayed the greatest ability to negatively regulate the Sz. pombe pheromone signalling pathway when expressed from multicopy expression vectors. Human RGS2, human RGS3, human RGS9-2 and murine RGS2 displayed lesser, varying abilities. Expression of human RGS 1 from single copy reduced signalling at low pheromone concentrations. Expression of human RGS4 from single copy was incapable of reducing pheromone-independent and pheromone-dependent signalling. This thesis also describes the search for gain-of-function RGS proteins. Two potential gain-of-function szRgslp mutants were previously identified, and these mutants were recreated. The two mutations identified (histidine to arginine at szRgslp residue 171 and valine to isoleucine at szRgslp residue 305) conferred gain-of-function szRgslp phenotypes in an sxa2:: ura4 reporter strain. Hydroxylamine treatment of the human RGS4 open reading frame resulted in the identification of a potential gain-of-function RGS4 mutant. The lysine to arginine mutation at huRGS4p residue 20 conferred a gain-of-function huRGS4p phenotype in an sxa2:: ura4 reporter strain.