Oligomerization of the chitin synthase Chs3 is monitored at the Golgi and affects its endocytic recycling

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Summary

Chs3, the catalytic subunit of chitin synthase III in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is a complex polytopic membrane protein whose plasma membrane expression is tightly controlled: export from the ER requires interaction with Chs7; exit from the Golgi is dependent on the exomer complex, and precise bud neck localization relies on endocytosis. Moreover, Chs3 is efficiently recycled from endosomes to the TGN in an AP-1-dependent manner. Here we show that the export of Chs3 requires the cargo receptor Erv14, in a step that is independent of Chs7. Chs3 oligomerized in the ER through its N-terminal cytosolic region. However, the truncated Δ126Chs3 was still exported by Erv14, but was sent back from the Golgi to the ER in a COPI- and Rer1-dependent manner. A subset of the oligomerization-deficient Chs3 proteins evaded Golgi quality control and reached the plasma membrane, where they were enzymatically active but poorly endocytosed. This resulted in high CSIII levels, but calcofluor white resistance, explained by the reduced intercalation of calcofluor white between nascent chitin fibres. Our data show that the oligomerization of Chs3 through its N-terminus is essential for proper protein trafficking and chitin synthesis and is therefore monitored intracellularly.

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