Membrane fusion requires localized destabilization of two phospholipid bilayers, but unrestrained membrane destabilization could result in lysis. prm1 mutant yeast cells have a defect at the plasma membrane fusion stage of mating that typically results in the accumulation of prezygotes that have fingers of membrane-bound cytoplasm projecting from one cell of each pair into its mating partner in the direction of the osmotic gradient between the cells. However, some prm1 mating pairs fuse successfully whereas the two cells in other prm1 mating pairs simultaneously lyse. Lysis only occurs if both mating partners are prm1 mutants. Osmotic stabilization does not protect prm1 mating pairs from lysis, indicating that lysis is not caused by a cell wall defect, prm1 mating pairs without functional mitochondria still lyse, ruling out programmed cell death. No excess lysis was found after pheromone treatment of haploid prm1 cells, and lysis did not occur in mating pairs when prm1 was combined with the fus1 and fus2 mutations to block cell wall remodeling. Furthermore, short (<1 μm) cytoplasmic microfingers indicating the completion of cell wall remodeling appeared immediately before lysis. In combination, these results demonstrate that plasma membrane contact is a prerequisite for lysis. Cytoplasmic microfingers are unlikely to cause lysis since most prm1 mating pairs with microfingers do not lyse, and microfingers were also detected before fusion in some wild-type mating pairs. The lysis of prm1 mutant mating pairs suggests that the Prm1 protein stabilizes the membrane fusion event of yeast mating.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology