Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate [PtdIns(4,5)P2] plays a complex role in generating intracellular signalling molecules, and also in regulating actin-binding proteins, vesicular trafficking and vacuolar fusion. Four inositol polyphosphate 5-phosphatases (hereafter called 5-phosphatases) have been identified in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: Inp51p, Inp52p, Inp53p and Inp54p. Each enzyme contains a 5-phosphatase domain which hydrolyses PtdIns(4,5)P2, forming PtdIns4P, while Inp52p and Inp53p also express a polyphosphoinositide phosphatase domain within the Sac1-like domain. Disruption of any two yeast 5-phosphatases containing a Sac1-like domain results in abnormalities in actin polymerization, plasma membrane, vacuolar morphology and bud-site selection. Triple null mutant 5-phosphatase strains are non-viable. To investigate the role of PtdIns(4,5)P2 in mediating the phenotype of double and triple 5-phosphatase null mutant yeast, we determined whether a mammalian PtdIns(4,5)P2 5-phosphatase, 5-phosphatase II, which lacks polyphosphoinositide phosphatase activity, could correct the phenotype of triple 5-phosphatase null mutant yeast and restore cellular PtdIns(4,5)P2 levels to near basal values. Mammalian 5-phosphatase II expressed under an inducible promoter corrected the growth, cell wall, vacuolar and actin polymerization defects of the triple 5-phosphatase null mutant yeast strains. Cellular PtdIns(4,5)P2 levels in various 5-phosphatase double null mutant strains demonstrated significant accumulation (4.5-, 3- and 2-fold for ∆inp51inp53, ∆inp51inp52 and ∆inp52inp53 double null mutants respectively), which was corrected significantly following 5-phosphatase II expression. Collectively, these studies demonstrate the functional and cellular consequences of PtdIns(4,5)P2 accumulation and the evolutionary conservation of function between mammalian and yeast PtdIns(4,5)P2 5-phosphatases.

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