Calnexin Regulates Apoptosis Induced by Inositol Starvation in Fission Yeast
Inositol is a precursor of numerous phospholipids and signalling molecules essential for the cell. Schizosaccharomyces pombe is naturally auxotroph for inositol as its genome does not have a homologue of the INO1 gene encoding inositol-1-phosphate synthase, the enzyme responsible for inositol biosynthesis. In this work, we demonstrate that inositol starvation in S. pombe causes cell death with apoptotic features. This apoptotic death is dependent on the metacaspase Pca1p and is affected by the UPR transducer Ire1p. Previously, we demonstrated that calnexin is involved in apoptosis induced by ER stress. Here, we show that cells expressing a lumenal version of calnexin exhibit a 2-fold increase in the levels of apoptosis provoked by inositol starvation. This increase is reversed by co-expression of a calnexin mutant spanning the transmembrane domain and C-terminal cytosolic tail. Coherently, calnexin is physiologically cleaved at the end of its lumenal domain, under normal growth conditions when cells approach stationary phase. This cleavage suggests that the two naturally produced calnexin fragments are needed to continue growth into stationary phase and to prevent cell death. Collectively, our observations indicate that calnexin takes part in at least two apoptotic pathways in S. pombe, and suggest that the cleavage of calnexin has regulatory roles in apoptotic processes involving calnexin.
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