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    Stability of many proteins requires zinc. Zinc deficiency disrupts their folding, and the ubiquitin-proteasome system may help manage this stress. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, UBI4 encodes five tandem ubiquitin monomers and is essential for growth in zinc-deficient conditions. Although UBI4 is only one of four ubiquitin-encoding genes in the genome, a dramatic decrease in ubiquitin was observed in zinc-deficient ubi4Δ cells. The three other ubiquitin genes were strongly repressed under these conditions, contributing to the decline in ubiquitin. In a screen for ubi4Δ suppressors, a hypomorphic allele of the RPT2 proteasome regulatory subunit gene (rpt2(E301K)) suppressed the ubi4Δ growth defect. The rpt2(E301K) mutation also increased ubiquitin accumulation in zinc-deficient cells, and by using a ubiquitin-independent proteasome substrate we found that proteasome activity was reduced. These results suggested that increased ubiquitin supply in suppressed ubi4Δ cells was a consequence of more efficient ubiquitin release and recycling during proteasome degradation. Degradation of a ubiquitin-dependent substrate was restored by the rpt2(E301K) mutation, indicating that ubiquitination is rate-limiting in this process. The UBI4 gene was induced ∼5-fold in low zinc and is regulated by the zinc-responsive Zap1 transcription factor. Surprisingly, Zap1 controls UBI4 by inducing transcription from an intragenic promoter, and the resulting truncated mRNA encodes only two of the five ubiquitin repeats. Expression of a short transcript alone complemented the ubi4Δ mutation, indicating that it is efficiently translated. Loss of Zap1-dependent UBI4 expression caused a growth defect in zinc-deficient conditions. Thus, the intragenic UBI4 promoter is critical to preventing ubiquitin deficiency in zinc-deficient cells. © 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


    Colin W MacDiarmid, Janet Taggart, Jeeyon Jeong, Kittikhun Kerdsomboon, David J Eide. Activation of the Yeast UBI4 Polyubiquitin Gene by Zap1 Transcription Factor via an Intragenic Promoter Is Critical for Zinc-deficient Growth. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2016 Sep 02;291(36):18880-96

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    PMID: 27432887

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