Date of Award


Thesis Date


Degree Type

Honors Thesis-Restricted

Degree Name



Biological Sciences

Degree Program

Biological Sciences


Zhenchang Liu


The Hap2/3/4/5 complex is a heme-activated, CCAATT binding, global transcriptional activator of genes involved in respiration and mitochondrial biogenesis in the yeast species Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Hap4 is the regulatory subunit of the complex and its levelsdetermine the activity of the complex. Hap4 is known to play a signaling role in response toenvironmental conditions; however, little is known about the regulation of Hap4 levels or how it responses to a cell’s functional state. The activity of the Hap2-5 complex is known to be reduced in respiratory-deficient cells. In Liu Lab, it has previously been found that a link between Hap4 stability, mediated through 26S proteasome-dependent degradation, and dependence on mitochondrial functional state plays a regulatory role on downstream targets of the Hap complex. However, the mechanism behind this regulation is still largely unknown. In normally functioning yeast cells, Hap4 is a highly unstable protein with a half-life of ~10 min. We have observed that loss of mitochondrial DNA in respiratory deficient rho 0 cells has a role in the further destabilization of Hap4 to a half-life of ~4 min through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Through the screening of a collection of mutants defective in E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes, we show that Hap4 is greatly stabilized in ubc1Δubc4Δ double mutant cells. We also show that Hap4 stabilization in the ubc1Δubc4Δ mutant leads to increased activity of the Hap2-5 complex, indicating that mitochondrial biogenesis in yeast is regulated by the functional state of mitochondria through ubiquitin/proteasome-dependent degradation of Hap4. Furthermore, studies on Hap4 mutants involving two highly conserved cysteine residues led to a proposed mechanism behind the regulation of Ubc4 activity towards Hap4 in response to changes in the cellular redox state.


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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.