The Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutant strains blocked in the protein secretion pathway are not able to induce sexual aggregation. We have utilized the defect of aggregation to concentrate the secretion-deficient cells and identified a new gene which functions in the process of intracellular protein transport. The new mutant, uso1, is temperature sensitive for growth and protein secretion. At the restrictive temperature (37 degrees C), uso1 mutant accumulated the core-glycosylated precursor form of the exported protein invertase in the cells. Ultrastructural study of the mutant fixed by the freeze-substitution method revealed expansion of the nuclear envelope lumen and accumulation of the ER at the restrictive temperature. Abnormally oriented bundles of microtubules were often found in the nucleus. The USO1 gene was cloned by complementation of the uso1 temperature-sensitive growth defect. DNA sequence analysis revealed a hydrophilic protein of 1790 amino acids with a COOH-terminal 1,100-amino acid-long alpha-helical structure characteristic of the coiled-coil rod region of the cytoskeleton-related proteins. These observations suggest that Uso1 protein plays a role as a cytoskeletal component in the protein transport from the ER to the later secretory compartments.

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