The outer cell wall of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae serves as the interface with the surrounding environment and directly affects cell−cell and cell−surface interactions. Many of these interactions are facilitated by specific adhesins that belong to the Flo protein family. Flo mannoproteins have been implicated in phenotypes such as flocculation, substrate adhesion, biofilm formation, and pseudohyphal growth. Genetic data strongly suggest that individual Flo proteins are responsible for many specific cellular adhesion phenotypes. However, it remains unclear whether such phenotypes are determined solely by the nature of the expressed FLO genes or rather as the result of a combination of FLO gene expression and other cell wall properties and cell wall proteins. Mss11 has been shown to be a central element of FLO1 and FLO11 gene regulation and acts together with the cAMP-PKA-dependent transcription factor Flo8. Here we use genome-wide transcription analysis to identify genes that are directly or indirectly regulated by Mss11. Interestingly, many of these genes encode cell wall mannoproteins, in particular, members of the TIR and DAN families. To examine whether these genes play a role in the adhesion properties associated with Mss11 expression, we assessed deletion mutants of these genes in wild-type and flo11Δ genetic backgrounds. This analysis shows that only FLO genes, in particular FLO1/10/11, appear to significantly impact on such phenotypes. Thus adhesion-related phenotypes are primarily dependent on the balance of FLO gene expression.
Keywords: Mss11, FLO, cellular adhesion, cell wall