Synthesis of trehalose in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is catalysed by the trehalose-6-phosphate (Tre6P) synthase/phosphatase complex, which is composed of at least three different subunits encoded by the genes TPS1, TPS2, and TSL1. Previous studies indicated that Tps1 and Tps2 carry the catalytic activities of trehalose synthesis, namely Tre6P synthase (Tps1) and Tre6P phosphatase (Tps2), while Tsl1 was suggested to have regulatory functions. In this study two different approaches have been used to clarify the molecular composition of the trehalose synthase complex as well as the functional role of its potential subunits. Two-hybrid analyses of the in vivo interactions of Tps1, Tps2, Tsl1, and Tps3, a protein with high homology to Tsl1, revealed that both Tsl1 and Tps3 can interact with Tps1 and Tps2; the latter two proteins also interact with each other. In addition, trehalose metabolism upon heat shock was analysed in a set of 16 isogenic yeast strains carrying deletions of TPS1, TPS2, TSL1, and TPS3 in all possible combinations. These results not only confirm the previously suggested roles for Tps1 and Tps2, but also provide, for the first time, evidence that Tsl1 and Tps3 may share a common function with respect to regulation and/or structural stabilization of the Tre6P synthase/phosphatase complex in exponentially growing, heat-shocked cells.
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Present address: Dept of General and Marine Microbiology, Lundberg Laboratory, Göteborg University, Medicinaregatan 9C, S-41390 Göteborg, Sweden.