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Open Access Research article

Probing the importance and potential roles of the binding of the PH-domain protein Boi1 to acidic phospholipids

Mark A Hallett12, H Shuen Lo13 and Alan Bender1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA

2 Present address Indiana University Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, 1120 South Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46202-5135, USA

3 Present address Laboratory of Population Genetics, National Institutes of Health, Room D702, 41 Library Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

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BMC Cell Biology 2002, 3:16  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-3-16

Published: 27 June 2002



The related proteins Boi1 and Boi2, which appear to promote polarized growth in S. cerevisiae, both contain a PH (pleckstrin homology) and an SH3 (src homology 3) domain. Previously, we gained evidence that a PH domain-bearing segment of Boi1, which we call Boi1-PH, is sufficient and necessary for function. In the current study, we investigate the binding of Boi1's PH domain to the acidic phospholipids PIP2 (phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate) and PS (phosphatidylserine).


Boi1-PH co-sediments with PS vesicles. It does so more readily when these vesicles contain a small amount of PIP2. Boi1-PH is degraded in yeast extracts in a manner that is stimulated by PIP2. Amino-acid substitutions that diminish binding to PIP2 and PS impair Boi1 function. Fusion to a myristoyl group-accepting sequence improves to different degrees the ability of these different mutant versions of Boi1-PH to function. Boi1 and Boi2 are localized to the periphery of buds during much of the budding cycle and to necks late in the cell cycle. Amino-acid substitutions that diminish binding to PIP2 and PS impair localization of Boi1 to the bud, but do not affect the localization of Boi1 to the neck. Conversely, a mutation in the SH3 domain prevents the localization of Boi1 to the neck, but does not impair localization to the bud.


Boi1's PH domain binds to acidic phospholipids, and this binding appears to be important for Boi1 function. The main role of binding to PS may simply be to promote the association of the PH domain with membrane. The higher-affinity binding to PIP2, which apparently promotes a conformational change in the PH domain, may play an important additional role. Boi1 and Boi2 are localized to sites of polarized growth. Whereas the SH3 domain is needed for localization of Boi1 to the neck, the phospholipid-binding portion of the PH domain is important for localization to the bud.