Papers in the Biological Sciences


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DOI: 10.1093/g3journal/jkab233 Advance Access Publication Date: 10 August 2021


G3, 2021, 11(10), jkab233


The alkylphosphocholine (APC) class of antineoplastic and antiprotozoal drugs, such as edelfosine and miltefosine, are structural mimics of lyso-phosphatidylcholine (lyso-PC), and are inhibitory to the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae at low micromolar concentrations. Cytotoxic effects related to inhibition of phospholipid synthesis, induction of an unfolded protein response, inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation, and disruption of lipid rafts have been attributed to members of this drug class, however, the molecular mechanisms of action of these drugs remain incompletely understood. Cytostatic and cytotoxic effects of the APCs exhibit variability with regard to chemical structure, leading to differences in effectiveness against different organisms or cell types. We now report the comprehensive identification of S. cerevisiae titratableessential gene and haploid nonessential gene deletion mutants that are resistant to the APC drug miltefosine (hexadecyl-O-phosphocholine). Fifty-eight strains out of~5600 tested displayed robust and reproducible resistance to miltefosine. This gene set was heavily enriched in functions associated with vesicular transport steps, especially those involving endocytosis and retrograde transport of endosome derived vesicles to the Golgi or vacuole, suggesting a role for these trafficking pathways in transport of miltefosine to potential sites of action in the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondrion. In addition, we identified mutants with defects in phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate synthesis (TetO::STT4) and hydrolysis (sac1Δ), an oxysterol binding protein homolog (osh2Δ), a number of ER-resident proteins, and multiple components of the eisosome. These findings suggest that ER-plasma membrane contact sites and retrograde vesicle transport are involved in the interorganelle transport of lyso-PtdCho and related lyso-phospholipid-like analogs to their intracellular sites of cytotoxic activity.

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