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PLoS One 2012 Jan 01;74:e34854. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034854.
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Genomic clustering and homology between HET-S and the NWD2 STAND protein in various fungal genomes.

Daskalov A , Paoletti M , Ness F , Saupe SJ .

BACKGROUND: Prions are infectious proteins propagating as self-perpetuating amyloid polymers. The [Het-s] prion of Podospora anserina is involved in a cell death process associated with non-self recognition. The prion forming domain (PFD) of HET-s adopts a β-solenoid amyloid structure characterized by the two fold repetition of an elementary triangular motif. [Het-s] induces cell death when interacting with HET-S, an allelic variant of HET-s. When templated by [Het-s], HET-S undergoes a trans-conformation, relocates to the cell membrane and induces toxicity. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here, comparing HET-s homologs from different species, we devise a consensus for the HET-s elementary triangular motif. We use this motif to screen genomic databases and find a match to the N-terminus of NWD2, a STAND protein, encoded by the gene immediately adjacent to het-S. STAND proteins are signal transducing ATPases which undergo ligand-induced oligomerisation. Homology modelling predicts that the NWD2 N-terminal region adopts a HET-s-like fold. We propose that upon NWD2 oligomerisation, these N-terminal extensions adopt the β-solenoid fold and template HET-S to adopt the amyloid fold and trigger toxicity. We extend this model to a putative prion, the σ infectious element in Nectria haematococca, because the s locus controlling propagation of σ also encodes a STAND protein and displays analogous features. Comparative genomic analyses indicate evolutionary conservation of these STAND/prion-like gene pairs, identify a number of novel prion candidates and define, in addition to the HET-s PFD motif, two distinct, novel putative PFD-like motifs. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We suggest the existence, in the fungal kingdom, of a widespread and evolutionarily conserved mode of signal transduction based on the transmission of an amyloid-fold from a NOD-like STAND receptor protein to an effector protein.

PubMed ID: 22493719
PMC ID: PMC3321046
Article link: PLoS One

Genes referenced: LOC100891068 LOC100892760 LOC105445068 LOC115919910 LOC591208

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References [+] :
Aguzzi, The prion's elusive reason for being. 2008, Pubmed