Peroxiredoxins: Yeast redox switches that regulate multiple cellular pathways

  • Paraskevi Kritsiligkou

    Student thesis: Phd


    Peroxiredoxins are small ubiquitous cysteine-containing proteins that exhibit high reactivity to hydrogen peroxide. Apart from their role as antioxidants, detoxifying hydrogen peroxide to water, peroxiredoxins have been implicated in other cellular processes, such as protein folding and signalling. Using S. cerevisiae as a model organism, we utilised a variety of techniques to examine previously unexplored links between peroxiredoxins and mitochondrial function. Firstly, we characterised the role of Gpx3 in yeast mitochondria. Proteomic work revealed the presence of Gpx3 in the mitochondrial intermembrane space (IMS) and we characterised when, how and why Gpx3 can be found within the mitochondria. We showed that cells lacking Gpx3 have aberrant mitochondrial morphology and defective protein import capacity and inner membrane potential upon H2O2 stress. Gpx3 translocates to the IMS via a targeting sequence encoded from a non-AUG codon. This provides a novel and unique molecular mechanism that protects mitochondria from the exceptional oxidative stress which their activity imposes.Secondly, we focused on the role of Tsa1 upon protein aggregation-induced stress. Previous studies using the proline analogue AZC to cause protein misfolding revealed that protein aggregates are localised adjacent to mitochondria and mitochondrial ROS are generated in response. We questioned what effect this might have on mitochondrial function and we showed that upon AZC treatment there is a drop in respiratory rate, dependent on Tsa1. We questioned whether Tsa1, like other peroxiredoxins, is involved in regulating signalling cascades and we showed that cells that are lacking Tsa1 have alterations in the activity of the cAMP/PKA pathway. In parallel, we looked for differences both in the proteome and the transcriptome to understand what is the cause of the lethality of a tsa1 strain upon protein aggregation stress. We propose a mechanism where Tsa1 mediates a transcriptional response to protein misfolding stress via the activity of the heat shock transcription factor, Hsf1. Finally, we focused on the role of the mitochondrial peroxiredoxin Prx1. Under conditions where the mitochondrial matrix is oxidised, either genetically or by chemical addition, we showed than an apoptotic pathway is activated, dependent on the redox state of thioredoxin, Trx3. We showed that Trx3 can interact with Prx1 and loss of Prx1 also stops the induction of cell death. Analysis of the interactome of Trx3 unraveled the involvement of Bxl1/Ybh3, the yeast BH3 domain-containing protein and Aim9, a previously uncharacterised protein with kinase-like motifs, in the progression of cell death. The data presented in this thesis widens our understanding of the function of peroxiredoxins and their involvement in the regulation of cellular cascades that ensure correct mitochondrial function and responses to stress.
    Date of Award1 Aug 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Manchester
    SupervisorChristopher Grant (Supervisor) & Mark Ashe (Supervisor)


    • oxidative stress
    • signalling
    • yeast
    • mitochondria
    • apoptosis
    • redox
    • peroxiredoxins

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