Abplp is a yeast cortical actin-binding protein that contains an SH3 domain similar to those found in signal transduction proteins that function at the membrane/cytoskeleton interface. Although no detectable phenotypes are associated with a disruption allele of ABP1, mutations that create a requirement for this protein have now been isolated in the previously identified gene SAC6 and in two new genes, SLA1 and SLA2. The SAC6 gene encodes yeast fimbrin, an actin filament-bundling protein. Null mutations in SLA1 and SLA2 cause temperature-sensitive growth defects. Sla1p contains three SH3 domains and is essential for the proper formation of the cortical actin cytoskeleton. The COOH terminus of Sla2p contains a 200 amino acid region with homology to the COOH terminus of talin, a membrane cytoskeletal protein which is a component of fibroblast focal adhesions. Sla2p is required for cellular morphogenesis and polarization of the cortical cytoskeleton. In addition, synthetic-lethal interactions were observed for double-mutants containing null alleles of SLA2 and SAC6. In total, the mutant phenotypes, sequences, and genetic interactions indicate that we have identified novel proteins that cooperate to control the dynamic cytoskeletal rearrangements that are required for the development of cell polarity in budding yeast.

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