Glycolipid intermembrane transfer is accelerated by HET-C2, a filamentous fungus gene product involved in the cell-cell incompatibility response

Peter Mattjus, B Turcq, HM Pike, JG Molotkovsky, RE Brown

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    37 Citations (Scopus)


    Among filamentous fungi capable of mycelial growth, het genes play crucial roles by regulating heterokaryon formation between different individuals. When fusion Occurs between fungal mycelia that differ genetically at their het loci, the resulting heterokaryotic cells are quickly destroyed. It is unclear how het gene products of Podospora anserina trigger heterokaryon incompatibility. One unexplored possibility is that glycosphingolipids play a role because the het-c2 gene encodes a protein that displays 32% sequence identity and an additional 30% similarity to the mammalian glycolipid transfer protein. Here, P. anserina protoplasts containing wild-type het-c2 genes were shown to have greater glycosphingolipid transfer activity than protoplasts with disrupted het-c2 genes, a condition previously linked to altered cell compatibility following hyphal fusion. The observed glycolipid transfer activity could not be accounted for by nonspecific lipid transfer protein activity. Direct assessment showed that purified, recombinant HET-C2 accelerates the intermembrane transfer of glycolipid in vitro, but that the HET-C2 activity is mitigated much less by negatively charged membranes than the mammalian glycolipid transfer protein. The findings are discussed within the context of HET-C2 being a member of an emerging family of ancestral sphingolipid transfer proteins that play important roles in cell proliferation and accelerated death.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)535–542
    Number of pages8
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2003
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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