The cytochemical technique using the in situ precipitation of orthophosphate ions liberated specifically by the aspartate carbamoyltransferase (ATCase) (EC 2.1.3.2) reaction indicated that in Saccharomyces cerevisiae this enzyme is confined to the nucleus. This observation is in accordance with the result reported by Bernhardt and Davis (1972), Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 69:1868-1872) on Neurospora crassa. The nuclear compartmentation was also observed in a mutant strain lacking proteinase B activity. This finding indicates that this proteinase is not involved in the nuclear accumulation of ATCase, and that the activity observed in the nucleus corresponds to the multifunctional form associated with the uracil path-specific carbamoylphosphate synthetase and sensitive to feedback inhibition by UTP. In a ura2 strain transformed by nonintegrated pFL1 plasmids bearing the URA2-ATCase activity encoding gene, the lead phosphate precipitate was observed predominantly in the cytoplasm. This finding enhances the reliability of the technique used by eliminating the possibility of an artifactual displacement of an originally cytoplasmic reaction product during the preparation of the material for electron microscopy. On the other hand, nuclei isolated under hypoosmotic conditions do not exhibit the ATCase activity that is recovered in the cytosolic fractions after differential centrifugation of the lysate in Percoll gradient. A release of the protein from the nuclei during the lysis step, consistent with its nucleoplasmic localization, is postulated.

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