Human and mouse Gpi1p homologues restore glycosylphosphatidylinositol membrane anchor biosynthesis in yeast mutants

Andreas Tiede, Jörg Schubert, Claudia Nischan, Irene Jensen, Barbara Westfall, Christopher H. Taron, Peter Orlean, Reinhold E. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) represents an important anchoring molecule for cell surface proteins. The first step in its synthesis is the transfer of N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) from UDP to phosphatidylinositol (PI). The products of three mammalian genes, PIG-A, PIG-C and PIG-H, have previously been shown to be involved in the putative enzymic complex. Here we report the cloning of human and mouse cDNAs encoding a fourth participant in the GlcNAc transfer reaction which are homologues of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccaromyces pombe Gpi1 proteins. To provide evidence for their function, these proteins were expressed in GPI1-disrupted yeast strains. In Sacch. cerevisiae, where GPI1 disruption results in a temperature-sensitive phenotype and abolishes in vitro GlcNAc-PI synthesis, restoration of growth could be demonstrated in a temperature-dependent manner. In addition, in vitro GlcNAc-PI synthetic activity was again detectable. In Schiz. pombe, gpi1+ disruption is lethal. Using random spore analysis, we were able to show that the mammalian GPI1 homologues can rescue haploids harbouring the lethal gpi1+::his7+ allele. Our data demonstrate that the genes identified are indeed involved in the first step of GPI biosynthesis, and allow conclusions about a specific function for Gpi1p in stabilizing the enzymic complex. The finding that, despite a low degree of identity, the mammalian Gpi1 proteins are able to participate in the yeast GlcNAc-PI synthetic machinery as heterologous components further demonstrates that GPI biosynthesis has been highly conserved throughout evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-616
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 15 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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