Published on Jan. 1, 1991 in Yeast volume 7.
PubMed ID: 2063628
In order to determine the biological functions of moderately abundant, high mobility group (HMG)-like nuclear proteins, a genetic approach has been taken. The gene for one such protein, NHP2, has been cloned and characterized from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. NHP2 has been called 'HMG-like' because of the physical/chemical properties it shares with the HMG proteins from higher eukaryotic cells. However, nucleotide sequence analysis revealed that NHP2 could encode a 17.1 kilodalton basic protein which was not significantly homologous to any previously sequenced HMG proteins. Thus NHP2 defines a new member of the HMG class of proteins. A search of protein databases showed that the amino acid sequence of NHP2 shared significant identities with two ribosomal proteins; the acidic ribosomal protein S6 from Halobacterium marismorium and protein L7a from mammals. The biological relevance of these homologies is unclear since previous biochemical results indicated that NHP2 was not a ribosomal protein. S1 nuclease analysis indicated that the gene contained no introns but had multiple transcription initiation sites 20 to 40 bases before the ATG codon. Finally, NHP2 has been shown to have a critical role in the cell; when a diploid yeast strain deleted of one copy of the NHP2 gene was sporulated and dissected, only half of the spores grew into normal colonies. The rest of the spores germinated, but only formed microcolonies containing 12 to 40 cells. None of the spores which grew into normal-sized colonies contained the mutant NHP2 gene, thus demonstrating that the NHP2 protein has an essential physiological function.