PAS kinase 1 (Psk1) is a key regulator of respiration in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Herein the molecular mechanisms of this regulation are explored through the characterization of its substrate, Centromere binding factor 1 (Cbf1). CBF1-deficient yeast displayed a significant decrease in cellular respiration, while PAS kinase-deficient yeast, or yeast harboring a Cbf1 phosphosite mutant (T211A) displayed a significant increase. Transmission electron micrographs showed an increased number of mitochondria in PAS kinase-deficient yeast consistent with the increase in respiration. Although the CBF1-deficient yeast did not appear to have an altered number of mitochondria, a mitochondrial proteomics study revealed significant differences in the mitochondrial composition of CBF1-deficient yeast including altered Atp3 levels, a subunit of the mitochondrial F1-ATP synthase complex. Both beta-galactosidase reporter assays and western blot analysis confirmed direct transcriptional control of ATP3 by Cbf1. In addition, we confirmed the regulation of yeast lipid genes LAC1 and LAG1 by Cbf1. The human homolog of Cbf1, Upstream transcription factor 1 (USF1), is also known to be involved in lipid biogenesis. Herein, we provide the first evidence for a role of USF1 in respiration since it appeared to complement Cbf1 in vivo as determined by respiration phenotypes. In addition, we confirmed USF1 as a substrate of human PAS kinase (hPASK) in vitro. Combined, our data supports a model in which Cbf1/USF1 functions to partition glucose towards respiration and away from lipid biogenesis, while PAS kinase inhibits respiration in part through the inhibition of Cbf1/USF1.
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