Protein phosphatase Ppz1 is not regulated by a hal3-like protein in plant pathogen ustilago maydis

Chunyi Zhang, Antonio de la Torre, José Pérez-Martín, Joaquín Ariño

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2 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Ppz enzymes are type-1 related Ser/Thr protein phosphatases that are restricted to fungi. In S. cerevisiae and other fungi, Ppz1 is involved in cation homeostasis and is regulated by two structurally-related inhibitory subunits, Hal3 and Vhs3, with Hal3 being the most physiologically relevant. Remarkably, Hal3 and Vhs3 have moonlighting properties, as they participate in an atypical heterotrimeric phosphopantothenoyl cysteine decarboxylase (PPCDC), a key enzyme for Coenzyme A biosynthesis. Here we identify and functionally characterize Ppz1 phosphatase (UmPpz1) and its presumed regulatory subunit (UmHal3) in the plant pathogen fungus Ustilago maydis. UmPpz1 is not an essential protein in U. maydis and, although possibly related to the cell wall integrity pathway, is not involved in monovalent cation homeostasis. The expression of UmPpz1 in S. cerevisiae Ppz1-deficient cells partially mimics the functions of the endogenous enzyme. In contrast to what was found in C. albicans and A. fumigatus, UmPpz1 is not a virulence determinant. UmHal3, an unusually large protein, is the only functional PPCDC in U. maydis and, therefore, an essential protein. However, when overexpressed in U. maydis or S. cerevisiae, UmHal3 does not reproduce Ppz1-inhibitory phenotypes. Indeed, UmHal3 does not inhibit UmPpz1 in vitro (although ScHal3 does). Therefore, UmHal3 might not be a moonlighting protein.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3817
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • CoA biosynthesis
  • Fungi
  • Protein phosphatase
  • Protein phosphorylation
  • Ustilago maydis


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