Phosphatidylserine (PtdSer) is synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum and its subdomains associated with the mitochondria [MAM (mitochondria-associated membrane)] and subsequently transported to the loci of the PtdSer decarboxylases, Pds1p (phosphatidylserine decarboxylase 1 encoded by the PSD1 gene that complements psd1 mutations) in the mitochondria, and Psd2p (PtdSer decarboxylase 2 encoded by the PSD2 gene that complements psd2 mutations) in the Golgi. Decarboxylation of PtdSer to PtdEtn (phosphatidylethanolamine) can be used as a biochemical indicator of transport to these organelles, which is regulated by specific lipid and protein motifs. PtdSer transport to mitochondria is controlled by ubiquitination via the action of the ubiquitin ligase subunit Met30p (a ubiquitin ligase subunit encoded by the MET30 gene that complements the met30 mutation affecting methionine biosynthesis). Mutant strains with lesions in the MET30 gene are defective in PtdSer transport and show altered ubiquitination of specific target proteins, such as the transcription factor Met4p (a transcription factor encoded by the MET4 gene that complements the met4 mutation affecting methionine biosynthesis). Mutations to MET30 cause defects in both the MAM as a donor of PtdSer, and the mitochondria as an acceptor of PtdSer in the transport reaction. PtdSer transport to the locus of Psd2p is controlled by specific protein and lipid motifs. The C2 (Ca2+ and phospholipid-binding sequence) domain of Psd2p, and the lipid-binding protein PstB2p (PtdSer transport B pathway protein encoded by the PSTB2 gene that complements the pstB2 mutation affecting PtdSer transport), must be present on acceptor membranes for PtdSer transport to occur. In addition, the action of the PtdIns 4-kinase, Stt4p (PtdIns 4-kinase encoded by the STT4 gene that complements the stt4 mutation causing staurosporine and temperature-sensitive growth) is also required for PtdSer transport to the locus of Psd2p. Reconstitution of PtdSer transport to Psd2p using liposomes demonstrates that PtdSer-rich domains present in vesicles are preferred substrates for transport. In addition, the incorporation of phosphatidic acid into donor membranes enhances the rate of PtdSer transport. Collectively, these data support a model for PtdSer transport in which specific proteins and lipids are required on donor and acceptor membranes.

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