PLoS genetics

The amidation step of diphthamide biosynthesis in yeast requires DPH6, a gene identified through mining the DPH1-DPH5 interaction network.

PMID 23468660


Diphthamide is a highly modified histidine residue in eukaryal translation elongation factor 2 (eEF2) that is the target for irreversible ADP ribosylation by diphtheria toxin (DT). In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the initial steps of diphthamide biosynthesis are well characterized and require the DPH1-DPH5 genes. However, the last pathway step-amidation of the intermediate diphthine to diphthamide-is ill-defined. Here we mine the genetic interaction landscapes of DPH1-DPH5 to identify a candidate gene for the elusive amidase (YLR143w/DPH6) and confirm involvement of a second gene (YBR246w/DPH7) in the amidation step. Like dph1-dph5, dph6 and dph7 mutants maintain eEF2 forms that evade inhibition by DT and sordarin, a diphthamide-dependent antifungal. Moreover, mass spectrometry shows that dph6 and dph7 mutants specifically accumulate diphthine-modified eEF2, demonstrating failure to complete the final amidation step. Consistent with an expected requirement for ATP in diphthine amidation, Dph6 contains an essential adenine nucleotide hydrolase domain and binds to eEF2. Dph6 is therefore a candidate for the elusive amidase, while Dph7 apparently couples diphthine synthase (Dph5) to diphthine amidation. The latter conclusion is based on our observation that dph7 mutants show drastically upregulated interaction between Dph5 and eEF2, indicating that their association is kept in check by Dph7. Physiologically, completion of diphthamide synthesis is required for optimal translational accuracy and cell growth, as indicated by shared traits among the dph mutants including increased ribosomal -1 frameshifting and altered responses to translation inhibitors. Through identification of Dph6 and Dph7 as components required for the amidation step of the diphthamide pathway, our work paves the way for a detailed mechanistic understanding of diphthamide formation.