Dominant effects of tubulin overexpression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Molecular and cellular biology, Volume 9, Issue 3, p.1049-59 (1989)


cell cycle, CHROMOSOMES, Gene Expression Regulation, Genes, Dominant, Genes, Fungal, Genes, Lethal, Microtubules, Mutation, PHENOTYPE, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, tubulin


The consequences of altering the levels of alpha- and beta-tubulin in Saccharomyces cerevisiae were examined by constructing fusions of the structural genes encoding the tubulins to strong galactose-inducible promoters. Overexpression of beta-tubulin (TUB2) was lethal: cells arrested in the G2 stage of the cell cycle exhibited an increased frequency of chromosome loss, were devoid of microtubules, and accumulated beta-tubulin in a novel structure. Overexpression of the major alpha-tubulin gene (TUB1) was not lethal and did not affect chromosome segregation. The rate of alpha-tubulin mRNA and protein synthesis was increased, but the protein did not accumulate. Overexpression of both alpha- and beta-tubulin together resulted in arrested cell division, and cells accumulated excess tubules that contained both alpha- and beta-tubulin. Transient overexpression of both tubulins resulted in a high frequency of chromosome loss. These data suggest that strong selective pressure exists to prevent excess accumulation of microtubules or beta-tubulin and suggest a model by which this goal may be achieved by selective degradation of unassembled alpha-tubulin. Furthermore, the phenotype of beta-tubulin overexpression is similar to the phenotype of a beta-tubulin deficiency. These results add to a number of recent studies demonstrating that mutant phenotypes generated by overexpression can be informative about the function of the gene product.