A mitotically inheritable unit containing a MAP kinase module

Sébastien Kicka, Crystel Bonnet, Andrew K. Sobering, Latha P. Ganesan, Philippe Silar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Prions are novel kinds of hereditary units, relying solely on proteins, that are infectious and inherited in a non-Mendelian fashion. To date, they are either based on autocatalytic modification of a 3D conformation or on autocatalytic cleavage. Here, we provide further evidence that in the filamentous fungus Podospora anserina, a MAP kinase cascade is probably able to self-activate and generate C, a hereditary unit that bears many similarities to prions and triggers cell degeneration. We show that in addition to the MAPKKK gene, both the MAPKK and MAPK genes are necessary for the propagation of C, and that overexpression of MAPK as that of MAPKKK facilitates the appearance of C. We also show that a correlation exists between the presence of C and localization of the MAPK inside nuclei. These data emphasize the resemblance between prions and a self-positively regulated cascade in terms of their transmission. This thus further expands the concept of protein-base inheritance to regulatory networks that have the ability to self-activate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13445-13450
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 5 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Epigenetic
  • Podospora anserina
  • Prion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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