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1.  The SPA2 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is important for pheromone- induced morphogenesis and efficient mating 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1990;111(4):1451-1464.
Upon exposure to mating pheromone, Saccharomyces cerevisiae undergoes cellular differentiation to form a morphologically distinct cell called a "shmoo". Double staining experiments revealed that both the SPA2 protein and actin localize to the shmoo tip which is the site of polarized cell growth. Actin concentrates as spots throughout the shmoo projection, while SPA2 localizes as a sharp patch at the shmoo tip. DNA sequence analysis of the SPA2 gene revealed an open reading frame 1,466 codons in length; the predicted protein sequence contains many internal repeats including a nine amino acid sequence that is imperfectly repeated 25 times. Portions of the SPA2 sequence exhibit a low-level similarity to proteins containing coiled-coil structures. Yeast cells containing a large deletion of the SPA2 gene are similar in growth rate to wild-type cells. However, spa2 mutant cells are impaired in their ability to form shmoos upon exposure to mating pheromone, and they do not mate efficiently with other spa2 mutant cells. Thus, we suggest that the SPA2 protein plays a critical role in cellular morphogenesis during mating, perhaps as a cytoskeletal protein.
PMCID: PMC2116254  PMID: 2211820
2.  Microtubule Dynamics from Mating through the First Zygotic Division in the Budding Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1999;144(5):977-987.
We have used time-lapse digital imaging microscopy to examine cytoplasmic astral microtubules (Mts) and spindle dynamics during the mating pathway in budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Mating begins when two cells of opposite mating type come into proximity. The cells arrest in the G1 phase of the cell cycle and grow a projection towards one another forming a shmoo projection. Imaging of microtubule dynamics with green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusions to dynein or tubulin revealed that the nucleus and spindle pole body (SPB) became oriented and tethered to the shmoo tip by a Mt-dependent search and capture mechanism. Dynamically unstable astral Mts were captured at the shmoo tip forming a bundle of three or four astral Mts. This bundle changed length as the tethered nucleus and SPB oscillated toward and away from the shmoo tip at growth and shortening velocities typical of free plus end astral Mts (∼0.5 μm/min). Fluorescent fiduciary marks in Mt bundles showed that Mt growth and shortening occurred primarily at the shmoo tip, not the SPB. This indicates that Mt plus end assembly/disassembly was coupled to pushing and pulling of the nucleus. Upon cell fusion, a fluorescent bar of Mts was formed between the two shmoo tip bundles, which slowly shortened (0.23 ± 0.07 μm/min) as the two nuclei and their SPBs came together and fused (karyogamy). Bud emergence occurred adjacent to the fused SPB ∼30 min after SPB fusion. During the first mitosis, the SPBs separated as the spindle elongated at a constant velocity (0.75 μm/min) into the zygotic bud. There was no indication of a temporal delay at the 2-μm stage of spindle morphogenesis or a lag in Mt nucleation by replicated SPBs as occurs in vegetative mitosis implying a lack of normal checkpoints. Thus, the shmoo tip appears to be a new model system for studying Mt plus end dynamic attachments and much like higher eukaryotes, the first mitosis after haploid cell fusion in budding yeast may forgo cell cycle checkpoints present in vegetative mitosis.
PMCID: PMC2148199  PMID: 10085295
yeast; microtubules; mitosis; mating; karyogamy
3.  Motor Protein Myo5p Is Required To Maintain the Regulatory Circuit Controlling WOR1 Expression in Candida albicans 
Eukaryotic Cell  2012;11(5):626-637.
The Candida albicans MYO5 gene encodes myosin I, a protein required for the formation of germ tubes and true hyphae. Because the polarized growth of opaque-phase cells in response to pheromone results in mating projections that can resemble germ tubes, we examined the role of Myo5p in this process. We localized green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged Myo5p in opaque-phase cells of C. albicans during both bud and shmoo formation. In vegetatively growing opaque cells, Myo5p is found at sites of bud emergence and bud growth, while in pheromone-stimulated cells, Myo5p localizes at the growing tips of shmoos. Intriguingly, cells homozygous for MTLa in which the MYO5 gene was deleted failed to switch efficiently from the white phase to the opaque phase, although ectopic expression of WOR1 from the MET3 promoter can convert myo5 mutants into mating-competent opaque cells. However, when WOR1 expression was shut off, the myo5-defective cells rapidly lost both their opaque phenotype and mating competence, suggesting that Myo5p is involved in the maintenance of the opaque state. When MYO5 is expressed conditionally in opaque cells, the opaque phenotype, as well as the mating ability of the cells, becomes unstable under repressive conditions, and quantitative real-time PCR demonstrated that the shutoff of MYO5 expression correlates with a dramatic reduction in WOR1 expression. It appears that while myosin I is not directly required for mating in C. albicans, it is involved in WOR1 expression and the white-opaque transition and thus is indirectly implicated in mating.
PMCID: PMC3346434  PMID: 22408227
4.  The Cortical Localization of the Microtubule Orientation Protein, Kar9p, Is Dependent upon Actin and Proteins Required for Polarization  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1999;144(5):963-975.
In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, positioning of the mitotic spindle requires both the cytoplasmic microtubules and actin. Kar9p is a novel cortical protein that is required for the correct position of the mitotic spindle and the orientation of the cytoplasmic microtubules. Green fluorescent protein (GFP)– Kar9p localizes to a single spot at the tip of the growing bud and the mating projection. However, the cortical localization of Kar9p does not require microtubules (Miller, R.K., and M.D. Rose. 1998. J. Cell Biol. 140: 377), suggesting that Kar9p interacts with other proteins at the cortex. To investigate Kar9p's cortical interactions, we treated cells with the actin-depolymerizing drug, latrunculin-A. In both shmoos and mitotic cells, Kar9p's cortical localization was completely dependent on polymerized actin. Kar9p localization was also altered by mutations in four genes, spa2Δ, pea2Δ, bud6Δ, and bni1Δ, required for normal polarization and actin cytoskeleton functions and, of these, bni1Δ affected Kar9p localization most severely. Like kar9Δ, bni1Δ mutants exhibited nuclear positioning defects during mitosis and in shmoos. Furthermore, like kar9Δ, the bni1Δ mutant exhibited misoriented cytoplasmic microtubules in shmoos. Genetic analysis placed BNI1 in the KAR9 pathway for nuclear migration. However, analysis of kar9Δ bni1Δ double mutants suggested that Kar9p retained some function in bni1Δ mitotic cells. Unlike the polarization mutants, kar9Δ shmoos had a normal morphology and diploids budded in the correct bipolar pattern. Furthermore, Bni1p localized normally in kar9Δ. We conclude that Kar9p's function is specific for cytoplasmic microtubule orientation and that Kar9p's role in nuclear positioning is to coordinate the interactions between the actin and microtubule networks.
PMCID: PMC2148208  PMID: 10085294
mitosis; nuclear migration; Spa2; Bni1p; formin
5.  A Small Conserved Domain in the Yeast Spa2p Is Necessary and Sufficient for Its Polarized Localization 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1997;138(1):17-36.
SPA2 encodes a yeast protein that is one of the first proteins to localize to sites of polarized growth, such as the shmoo tip and the incipient bud. The dynamics and requirements for Spa2p localization in living cells are examined using Spa2p green fluorescent protein fusions. Spa2p localizes to one edge of unbudded cells and subsequently is observable in the bud tip. Finally, during cytokinesis Spa2p is present as a ring at the mother–daughter bud neck. The bud emergence mutants bem1 and bem2 and mutants defective in the septins do not affect Spa2p localization to the bud tip. Strikingly, a small domain of Spa2p comprised of 150 amino acids is necessary and sufficient for localization to sites of polarized growth. This localization domain and the amino terminus of Spa2p are essential for its function in mating. Searching the yeast genome database revealed a previously uncharacterized protein which we name, Sph1p (Spa2p homolog), with significant homology to the localization domain and amino terminus of Spa2p. This protein also localizes to sites of polarized growth in budding and mating cells. SPH1, which is similar to SPA2, is required for bipolar budding and plays a role in shmoo formation. Overexpression of either Spa2p or Sph1p can block the localization of either protein fused to green fluorescent protein, suggesting that both Spa2p and Sph1p bind to and are localized by the same component. The identification of a 150–amino acid domain necessary and sufficient for localization of Spa2p to sites of polarized growth and the existence of this domain in another yeast protein Sph1p suggest that the early localization of these proteins may be mediated by a receptor that recognizes this small domain.
PMCID: PMC2139937  PMID: 9214378
6.  The Class V Myosin Myo2p Is Required for Fus2p Transport and Actin Polarization during the Yeast Mating Response 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(12):2909-2919.
Mating yeast cells remove their cell walls and fuse their plasma membranes in a spatially restricted cell contact region. Cell wall removal is dependent on Fus2p, an amphiphysin-associated Rho-GEF homolog. As mating cells polarize, Fus2p-GFP localizes to the tip of the mating projection, where cell fusion will occur, and to cytoplasmic puncta, which show rapid movement toward the tip. Movement requires polymerized actin, whereas tip localization is dependent on both actin and a membrane protein, Fus1p. Here, we show that Fus2p-GFP movement is specifically dependent on Myo2p, a type V myosin, and not on Myo4p, another type V myosin, or Myo3p and Myo5p, type I myosins. Fus2p-GFP tip localization and actin polarization in shmoos are also dependent on Myo2p. A temperature-sensitive tropomyosin mutation and Myo2p alleles that specifically disrupt vesicle binding caused rapid loss of actin patch organization, indicating that transport is required to maintain actin polarity. Mutant shmoos lost actin polarity more rapidly than mitotic cells, suggesting that the maintenance of cell polarity in shmoos is more sensitive to perturbation. The different velocities, differential sensitivity to mutation and lack of colocalization suggest that Fus2p and Sec4p, another Myo2p cargo associated with exocytotic vesicles, reside predominantly on different cellular organelles.
PMCID: PMC2695798  PMID: 19403698
7.  Yeast Mating and Image-Based Quantification of Spatial Pattern Formation 
PLoS Computational Biology  2014;10(6):e1003690.
Communication between cells is a ubiquitous feature of cell populations and is frequently realized by secretion and detection of signaling molecules. Direct visualization of the resulting complex gradients between secreting and receiving cells is often impossible due to the small size of diffusing molecules and because such visualization requires experimental perturbations such as attachment of fluorescent markers, which can change diffusion properties. We designed a method to estimate such extracellular concentration profiles in vivo by using spatiotemporal mathematical models derived from microscopic analysis. This method is applied to populations of thousands of haploid yeast cells during mating in order to quantify the extracellular distributions of the pheromone α-factor and the activity of the aspartyl protease Bar1. We demonstrate that Bar1 limits the range of the extracellular pheromone signal and is critical in establishing α-factor concentration gradients, which is crucial for effective mating. Moreover, haploid populations of wild type yeast cells, but not BAR1 deletion strains, create a pheromone pattern in which cells differentially grow and mate, with low pheromone regions where cells continue to bud and regions with higher pheromone levels and gradients where cells conjugate to form diploids. However, this effect seems to be exclusive to high-density cultures. Our results show a new role of Bar1 protease regulating the pheromone distribution within larger populations and not only locally inside an ascus or among few cells. As a consequence, wild type populations have not only higher mating efficiency, but also higher growth rates than mixed MATa bar1Δ/MATα cultures. We provide an explanation of how a rapidly diffusing molecule can be exploited by cells to provide spatial information that divides the population into different transcriptional programs and phenotypes.
Author Summary
Haploid budding yeast cells cannot actively move to find a mating partner, like some flagellated bacteria do. Instead they must grow a so-called shmoo – a mating projection – precisely into the direction of a potential partner. They communicate with each other by releasing pheromones into their environment, which are sensed by cells of the opposite mating type. This serves the localization of nearby cells and initiates growth arrest and mating. Paradoxically, yeast cells also secrete the protease Bar1 that destroys pheromones. To visualize the resulting pheromone distribution and understand the effect on mating efficiency, we combined fluorescence imaging and mathematical modeling. We observed that the controlled destruction of pheromones by the yeast cells is beneficial to communication since it causes relatively higher pheromone concentrations in areas where cells are dense and vanishing pheromone concentrations elsewhere. This allows the population to maintain two different cellular behaviors at the same time, i.e. mating and continued growth, a behavior which disappears when we genetically delete the gene for the pheromone-destroying protein.
PMCID: PMC4072512  PMID: 24967739
8.  Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells execute a default pathway to select a mate in the absence of pheromone gradients 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1995;131(4):845-861.
During conjugation, haploid S. cerevisiae cells find one another by polarizing their growth toward each other along gradients of pheromone (chemotropism). We demonstrate that yeast cells exhibit a second mating behavior: when their receptors are saturated with pheromone, wild-type a cells execute a default pathway and select a mate at random. These matings are less efficient than chemotropic matings, are induced by the same dose of pheromone that induces shmoo formation, and appear to use a site near the incipient bud site for polarization. We show that the SPA2 gene is specifically required for the default pathway: spa2 delta mutants cannot mate if pheromone concentrations are high and gradients are absent, but can mate if gradients are present. ste2 delta, sst2 delta, and far1 delta mutants are chemotropism-defective and therefore must choose a mate by using a default pathway; consistent with this deduction, these strains require SPA2 to mate. In addition, our results suggest that far1 mutants are chemotropism-defective because their mating polarity is fixed at the incipient bud site, suggesting that the FAR1 gene is required for inhibiting the use of the incipient bud site during chemotropic mating. These observations reveal a molecular relationship between the mating and budding polarity pathways.
PMCID: PMC2200002  PMID: 7490289
9.  The Glc7p-Interacting Protein Bud14p Attenuates Polarized Growth, Pheromone Response, and Filamentous Growth in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Eukaryotic Cell  2002;1(6):884-894.
A genetic selection in Saccharomyces cerevisiae for mutants that stimulate the mating pathway uncovered a mutant that had a hyperactive pheromone response pathway and also had hyperpolarized growth. Cloning and segregation analysis demonstrated that BUD14 was the affected gene. Disruption of BUD14 in wild-type cells caused mild stimulation of pheromone response pathway reporters, an increase in sensitivity to mating factor, and a hyperelongated shmoo morphology. The bud14 mutant also had hyperfilamentous growth. Consistent with a role in the control of cell polarity, a Bud14p-green fluorescent protein fusion was localized to sites of polarized growth in the cell. Bud14p shared morphogenetic functions with the Ste20p and Bni1p proteins as well as with the type 1 phosphatase Glc7p. The genetic interactions between BUD14 and GLC7 suggested a role for Glc7p in filamentous growth, and Glc7p was found to have a positive function in filamentous growth in yeast.
PMCID: PMC138766  PMID: 12477789
10.  Subcellular localization of Cdc42p, a Saccharomyces cerevisiae GTP-binding protein involved in the control of cell polarity. 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1993;4(12):1307-1316.
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cdc42 protein, a member of the Ras superfamily of low-molecular-weight GTP-binding proteins, is involved in the control of cell polarity during the yeast cell cycle. This protein has a consensus sequence (CAAX) for geranylgeranyl modification and is likely to be associated, at least in part, with cell membranes. Using cell fractionation and immunolocalization techniques, we have investigated the subcellular localization of Cdc42p. Cdc42p was found in both soluble and particulate pools, and neither its abundance nor its distribution varied through the cell cycle. The particulate form of Cdc42p could be solubilized with detergents but not with NaCl or urea, suggesting that it is tightly associated with membranes. An increase in soluble Cdc42p was observed in a geranylgeranyltransferase mutant strain (cdc43-2ts) grown at the restrictive temperature. In addition, Cdc42p from a cdc42C188S mutant strain (that has an alteration at the prenylation consensus site) was almost exclusively in the soluble fraction, suggesting that membrane localization is dependent on geranylgeranyl modification at Cys-188. Immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy experiments demonstrated that Cdc42p localizes to the plasma membrane in the vicinity of secretory vesicles that were found at the site of bud emergence, at the tips and sides of enlarging buds, and within mating projections (shmoo tips) in alpha-factor-arrested cells. These results indicate that Cdc42p is localized to the bud site early in the cell cycle and suggest that this localization is critical for the selection of the proper site for bud emergence and for polarized cell growth.
PMCID: PMC275766  PMID: 8167411
11.  Plasma membrane aminoglycerolipid flippase function is required for signaling competence in the yeast mating pheromone response pathway 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2015;26(1):134-150.
Flippases that catalyze interleaflet lipid transfer, as well as the stimulatory protein kinase Fpk1, localize to the shmoo tip. Although viable and near-normal morphologically, cells lacking these flippases fail to respond to pheromone due to derangements in PtdIns(4,5)P2 localization, with ensuing effects on the level and/or function of MAPK scaffold protein Ste5.
The class 4 P-type ATPases (“flippases”) maintain membrane asymmetry by translocating phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylserine from the outer leaflet to the cytosolic leaflet of the plasma membrane. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, five related gene products (Dnf1, Dnf2, Dnf3, Drs2, and Neo1) are implicated in flipping of phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylserine, and phosphatidylcholine. In MATa cells responding to α-factor, we found that Dnf1, Dnf2, and Dnf3, as well as the flippase-activating protein kinase Fpk1, localize at the projection (“shmoo”) tip where polarized growth is occurring and where Ste5 (the central scaffold protein of the pheromone-initiated MAPK cascade) is recruited. Although viable, a MATa dnf1∆ dnf2∆ dnf3∆ triple mutant exhibited a marked decrease in its ability to respond to α-factor, which we could attribute to pronounced reduction in Ste5 stability resulting from an elevated rate of its Cln2⋅Cdc28-initiated degradation. Similarly, a MATa dnf1∆ dnf3∆ drs2∆ triple mutant also displayed marked reduction in its ability to respond to α-factor, which we could attribute to inefficient recruitment of Ste5 to the plasma membrane due to severe mislocalization of the cellular phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate pools. Thus proper remodeling of plasma membrane aminoglycerolipids and phosphoinositides is necessary for efficient recruitment, stability, and function of the pheromone signaling apparatus.
PMCID: PMC4279224  PMID: 25378585
12.  The SH3-domain protein Bem1 coordinates mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade activation with cell cycle control in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1996;16(8):4095-4106.
The mating mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade has three major outputs prior to fusion: transcriptional activation of many genes, cell cycle arrest in the G1 phase, and polarized growth. Bem1 localizes near the cortical actin cytoskeleton and is essential for polarized growth during mating. Here we show that Bem1 is required for efficient signal transduction and coordinates MAPK cascade activation with G1 arrest and mating. bem1delta null mutants are defective in G1 arrest and transcriptional activation in response to mating pheromone. Bem1 protein stimulates Fus3 (MAPK) activity and associates with Ste5, the tethering protein essential for activation of the MAPK kinase kinase Ste11. Bem1-Ste5 complexes also contain Ste11, Ste7 (MAPK kinase), and Fus3, suggesting that Ste5 localizes the MAPK cascade to Bem1. Strikingly, Bem1 also copurifies with Far1, a Fus3 substrate required for G1 arrest and proper polarized growth during mating. These and other results suggest that Bem1 may cross-link the Ste5-MAPK cascade complex to upstream activators and specific downstream substrates at the shmoo tip, thus enabling efficient circuitry for G1 arrest and mating.
PMCID: PMC231406  PMID: 8754808
13.  Dynamic localization of yeast Fus2p to an expanding ring at the cell fusion junction during mating 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2008;181(4):697-709.
Fus2p is a pheromone-induced protein associated with the amphiphysin homologue Rvs161p, which is required for cell fusion during mating in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We constructed a functional Fus2p–green fluorescent protein (GFP), which exhibits highly dynamic localization patterns in pheromone-responding cells (shmoos): diffuse nuclear, mobile cytoplasmic dots and stable cortical patches concentrated at the shmoo tip. In mitotic cells, Fus2p-GFP is nuclear but becomes cytoplasmic as cells form shmoos, dependent on the Fus3p protein kinase and high levels of pheromone signaling. The rapid cytoplasmic movement of Fus2p-GFP dots requires Rvs161p and polymerized actin and is aberrant in mutants with compromised actin organization, which suggests that the Fus2p dots are transported along actin cables, possibly in association with vesicles. Maintenance of Fus2p-GFP patches at the shmoo tip cortex is jointly dependent on actin and a membrane protein, Fus1p, which suggests that Fus1p is an anchor for Fus2p. In zygotes, Fus2p-GFP forms a dilating ring at the cell junction, returning to the nucleus at the completion of cell fusion.
PMCID: PMC2386108  PMID: 18474625
14.  Counteractive Control of Polarized Morphogenesis during Mating by Mitogen-activated Protein Kinase Fus3 and G1 Cyclin-dependent Kinase 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2008;19(4):1739-1752.
Cell polarization in response to external cues is critical to many eukaryotic cells. During pheromone-induced mating in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) Fus3 induces polarization of the actin cytoskeleton toward a landmark generated by the pheromone receptor. Here, we analyze the role of Fus3 activation and cell cycle arrest in mating morphogenesis. The MAPK scaffold Ste5 is initially recruited to the plasma membrane in random patches that polarize before shmoo emergence. Polarized localization of Ste5 is important for shmooing. In fus3 mutants, Ste5 is recruited to significantly more of the plasma membrane, whereas recruitment of Bni1 formin, Cdc24 guanine exchange factor, and Ste20 p21-activated protein kinase are inhibited. In contrast, polarized recruitment still occurs in a far1 mutant that is also defective in G1 arrest. Remarkably, loss of Cln2 or Cdc28 cyclin-dependent kinase restores polarized localization of Bni1, Ste5, and Ste20 to a fus3 mutant. These and other findings suggest Fus3 induces polarized growth in G1 phase cells by down-regulating Ste5 recruitment and by inhibiting Cln/Cdc28 kinase, which prevents basal recruitment of Ste5, Cdc42-mediated asymmetry, and mating morphogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2291402  PMID: 18256288
15.  Immunofluorescence localization of the unconventional myosin, Myo2p, and the putative kinesin-related protein, Smy1p, to the same regions of polarized growth in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1994;125(4):825-842.
Myo2 protein (Myo2p), an unconventional myosin in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has been implicated in polarized growth and secretion by studies of the temperature-sensitive myo2-66 mutant. Overexpression of Smy1p, which by sequence is a kinesin-related protein, can partially compensate for defects in the myo2 mutant (Lillie, S. H. and S. S. Brown, 1992. Nature (Lond.). 356:358-361). We have now immunolocalized Smy1p and Myo2p. Both are concentrated in regions of active growth, as caps at incipient bud sites and on small buds, at the mother-bud neck just before cell separation, and in mating cells as caps on shmoo tips and at the fusion bridge of zygotes. Double labeling of cells with either Myo2p or Smy1p antibody plus phalloidin was used to compare the localization of Smy1p and Myo2p to actin, and by extrapolation, to each other. These studies confirmed that Myo2p and Smy1p colocalize, and are concentrated in the same general regions of the cell as actin spots. However, neither colocalizes with actin. We noted a correlation in the behavior of Myo2p, Smy1p, and actin, but not microtubules, under a number of circumstances. In cdc4 and cdc11 mutants, which produce multiple buds, Myo2p and Smy1p caps were found only in the subset of buds that had accumulations of actin. Mutations in actin or secretory genes perturb actin, Smy1p and Myo2p localization. The rearrangements of Myo2p and Smy1p correlate temporally with those of actin spots during the cell cycle, and upon temperature and osmotic shift. In contrast, microtubules are not grossly affected by these perturbations. Although wild-type Myo2p localization does not require Smy1p, Myo2p staining is brighter when SMY1 is overexpressed. The myo2 mutant, when shifted to restrictive temperature, shows a permanent loss in Myo2p localization and actin polarization, both of which can be restored by SMY1 overexpression. However, the lethality of MYO2 deletion is not overcome by SMY1 overexpression. We noted that the myo2 mutant can recover from osmotic shift (unlike actin mutants; Novick, P., and D. Botstein. 1985. Cell. 40:405-416). We have also determined that the myo2-66 allele encodes a Lys instead of a Glu at position 511, which lies at an actin-binding face in the motor domain.
PMCID: PMC2120074  PMID: 8188749
16.  Lipid Raft Polarization Contributes to Hyphal Growth in Candida albicans 
Eukaryotic Cell  2004;3(3):675-684.
The polarization of sterol- and sphingolipid-enriched domains (lipid rafts) has been linked to morphogenesis and cell movement in diverse cell types. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a dramatic polarization of sterol-rich domains to the shmoo tip was observed in pheromone-induced cells (M. Bagnat and K. Simons, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99:14183-14188, 2002). We therefore examined whether plasma membrane lipid polarization contributes to the ability of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans to grow in a highly polarized manner to form hyphae. Interestingly, staining with filipin revealed that membrane sterols were highly polarized to the leading edge of growth during all stages of hyphal growth. Budding and pseudohyphal cells did not display polarized staining. Filipin staining was also enriched at septation sites in hyphae, where colocalization with septin proteins was observed, suggesting a role for the septins in forming a boundary domain. Actin appeared to play a role in sterol polarization and hyphal morphogenesis in that both were disrupted by low concentrations of latrunculin A that did not prevent budding. Furthermore, blocking either sphingolipid biosynthesis with myriocin or sterol biosynthesis with ketoconazole resulted in a loss of ergosterol polarization and caused abnormal hyphal morphogenesis, suggesting that lipid rafts are involved. Since hyphal growth is required for the full virulence of C. albicans, these results suggest that membrane polarization may contribute to the pathogenesis of this organism.
PMCID: PMC420133  PMID: 15189988
17.  Electrochemical Regulation of Budding Yeast Polarity 
PLoS Biology  2014;12(12):e1002029.
Manipulation of yeast cell polarity by external electric fields reveals electrochemical pathways that influence the distribution of membrane lipids and the polarity regulator Cdc4p.
Cells are naturally surrounded by organized electrical signals in the form of local ion fluxes, membrane potential, and electric fields (EFs) at their surface. Although the contribution of electrochemical elements to cell polarity and migration is beginning to be appreciated, underlying mechanisms are not known. Here we show that an exogenous EF can orient cell polarization in budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) cells, directing the growth of mating projections towards sites of hyperpolarized membrane potential, while directing bud emergence in the opposite direction, towards sites of depolarized potential. Using an optogenetic approach, we demonstrate that a local change in membrane potential triggered by light is sufficient to direct cell polarization. Screens for mutants with altered EF responses identify genes involved in transducing electrochemical signals to the polarity machinery. Membrane potential, which is regulated by the potassium transporter Trk1p, is required for polarity orientation during mating and EF response. Membrane potential may regulate membrane charges through negatively charged phosphatidylserines (PSs), which act to position the Cdc42p-based polarity machinery. These studies thus define an electrochemical pathway that directs the orientation of cell polarization.
Author Summary
The ability of cells to orient towards spatial cues is critical for processes such as migration, wound healing, and development. Although the role of electrochemical signals is well characterized in processes such as neuronal signaling, their function in cell polarity is much less understood or appreciated. Application of exogenous electric fields can direct cell polarization in many cell types, and electric fields of similar magnitude surround cells and tissues naturally. However, the significance and mechanism of these responses remain poorly understood. Here, we introduce budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) as a powerful model system to study electrochemical regulation of cell polarity. We show that application of electric fields causes budding yeast to polarize in particular directions. We begin to identify key proteins involved in this response, which implicate an electrochemical pathway involving membrane potential, membrane charge, and an ion channel, which ultimately regulate the central polarity factor Cdc42p. These key proteins are not only needed for response to electric fields, but also contribute to cell polarity more generally. To test whether a change in membrane potential is sufficient to control cell polarization, we introduce a light-sensitive ion channel into yeast and show that we can now control the site of polarization simply by using a focused laser beam. Thus, our study shows that electrochemical regulation is an integral component of cell polarity pathways.
PMCID: PMC4280105  PMID: 25548923
18.  Nuclear congression is driven by cytoplasmic microtubule plus end interactions in S. cerevisiae 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2006;172(1):27-39.
Nuclear movement before karyogamy in eukaryotes is known as pronuclear migration or as nuclear congression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In this study, S. cerevisiae is used as a model system to study microtubule (MT)-dependent nuclear movements during mating. We find that nuclear congression occurs through the interaction of MT plus ends rather than sliding and extensive MT overlap. Furthermore, the orientation and attachment of MTs to the shmoo tip before cell wall breakdown is not required for nuclear congression. The MT plus end–binding proteins Kar3p, a class 14 COOH-terminal kinesin, and Bik1p, the CLIP-170 orthologue, localize to plus ends in the shmoo tip and initiate MT interactions and depolymerization after cell wall breakdown. These data support a model in which nuclear congression in budding yeast occurs by plus end MT capture and depolymerization, generating forces sufficient to move nuclei through the cytoplasm. This is the first evidence that MT plus end interactions from oppositely oriented organizing centers can provide the force for organelle transport in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2063526  PMID: 16380440
19.  Dual Modes of Cdc42 Recycling Fine-Tune Polarized Morphogenesis 
Developmental cell  2009;17(6):823-835.
In budding yeast, the highly-conserved small GTPase Cdc42 localizes to the cortex at a cell pole and orchestrates the trafficking and deposition of cell surface materials required for building a bud or mating projection (shmoo). Using a combination of quantitative imaging and mathematical modeling, we elucidate mechanisms of dynamic recycling of Cdc42 that balance diffusion. Rdi1, a guanine nucleotide dissociation inhibitor (GDI), mediates a fast recycling pathway, while actin patch-mediated endocytosis accounts for a slower one. These recycling mechanisms are restricted to the same region of the nascent bud, as both are coupled to the Cdc42 GTPase cycle. We find that a single dynamic parameter, the rate of internalization inside the window of polarized delivery, is tuned to give rise to distinct shapes of Cdc42 distributions that correlate with distinct morphogenetic fates, such as the formation of a round bud or a pointed shmoo.
PMCID: PMC2805562  PMID: 20059952
20.  The genetic interaction network of CCW12, a Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene required for cell wall integrity during budding and formation of mating projections 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:107.
Mannoproteins construct the outer cover of the fungal cell wall. The covalently linked cell wall protein Ccw12p is an abundant mannoprotein. It is considered as crucial structural cell wall component since in baker's yeast the lack of CCW12 results in severe cell wall damage and reduced mating efficiency.
In order to explore the function of CCW12, we performed a Synthetic Genetic Analysis (SGA) and identified genes that are essential in the absence of CCW12. The resulting interaction network identified 21 genes involved in cell wall integrity, chitin synthesis, cell polarity, vesicular transport and endocytosis. Among those are PFD1, WHI3, SRN2, PAC10, FEN1 and YDR417C, which have not been related to cell wall integrity before. We correlated our results with genetic interaction networks of genes involved in glucan and chitin synthesis. A core of genes essential to maintain cell integrity in response to cell wall stress was identified. In addition, we performed a large-scale transcriptional analysis and compared the transcriptional changes observed in mutant ccw12Δ with transcriptomes from studies investigating responses to constitutive or acute cell wall damage. We identified a set of genes that are highly induced in the majority of the mutants/conditions and are directly related to the cell wall integrity pathway and cell wall compensatory responses. Among those are BCK1, CHS3, EDE1, PFD1, SLT2 and SLA1 that were also identified in the SGA. In contrast, a specific feature of mutant ccw12Δ is the transcriptional repression of genes involved in mating. Physiological experiments substantiate this finding. Further, we demonstrate that Ccw12p is present at the cell periphery and highly concentrated at the presumptive budding site, around the bud, at the septum and at the tip of the mating projection.
The combination of high throughput screenings, phenotypic analyses and localization studies provides new insight into the function of Ccw12p. A compensatory response, culminating in cell wall remodelling and transport/recycling pathways is required to buffer the loss of CCW12. Moreover, the enrichment of Ccw12p in bud, septum and mating projection is consistent with a role of Ccw12p in preserving cell wall integrity at sites of active growth.
The microarray data produced in this analysis have been submitted to NCBI GEO database and GSE22649 record was assigned.
PMCID: PMC3049148  PMID: 21320323
21.  Polarization of Diploid Daughter Cells Directed by Spatial Cues and GTP Hydrolysis of Cdc42 in Budding Yeast 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56665.
Cell polarization occurs along a single axis that is generally determined by a spatial cue. Cells of the budding yeast exhibit a characteristic pattern of budding, which depends on cell-type-specific cortical markers, reflecting a genetic programming for the site of cell polarization. The Cdc42 GTPase plays a key role in cell polarization in various cell types. Although previous studies in budding yeast suggested positive feedback loops whereby Cdc42 becomes polarized, these mechanisms do not include spatial cues, neglecting the normal patterns of budding. Here we combine live-cell imaging and mathematical modeling to understand how diploid daughter cells establish polarity preferentially at the pole distal to the previous division site. Live-cell imaging shows that daughter cells of diploids exhibit dynamic polarization of Cdc42-GTP, which localizes to the bud tip until the M phase, to the division site at cytokinesis, and then to the distal pole in the next G1 phase. The strong bias toward distal budding of daughter cells requires the distal-pole tag Bud8 and Rga1, a GTPase activating protein for Cdc42, which inhibits budding at the cytokinesis site. Unexpectedly, we also find that over 50% of daughter cells lacking Rga1 exhibit persistent Cdc42-GTP polarization at the bud tip and the distal pole, revealing an additional role of Rga1 in spatiotemporal regulation of Cdc42 and thus in the pattern of polarized growth. Mathematical modeling indeed reveals robust Cdc42-GTP clustering at the distal pole in diploid daughter cells despite random perturbation of the landmark cues. Moreover, modeling predicts different dynamics of Cdc42-GTP polarization when the landmark level and the initial level of Cdc42-GTP at the division site are perturbed by noise added in the model.
PMCID: PMC3577668  PMID: 23437206
22.  Spatial Stochastic Dynamics Enable Robust Cell Polarization 
PLoS Computational Biology  2013;9(7):e1003139.
Although cell polarity is an essential feature of living cells, it is far from being well-understood. Using a combination of computational modeling and biological experiments we closely examine an important prototype of cell polarity: the pheromone-induced formation of the yeast polarisome. Focusing on the role of noise and spatial heterogeneity, we develop and investigate two mechanistic spatial models of polarisome formation, one deterministic and the other stochastic, and compare the contrasting predictions of these two models against experimental phenotypes of wild-type and mutant cells. We find that the stochastic model can more robustly reproduce two fundamental characteristics observed in wild-type cells: a highly polarized phenotype via a mechanism that we refer to as spatial stochastic amplification, and the ability of the polarisome to track a moving pheromone input. Moreover, we find that only the stochastic model can simultaneously reproduce these characteristics of the wild-type phenotype and the multi-polarisome phenotype of a deletion mutant of the scaffolding protein Spa2. Significantly, our analysis also demonstrates that higher levels of stochastic noise results in increased robustness of polarization to parameter variation. Furthermore, our work suggests a novel role for a polarisome protein in the stabilization of actin cables. These findings elucidate the intricate role of spatial stochastic effects in cell polarity, giving support to a cellular model where noise and spatial heterogeneity combine to achieve robust biological function.
Author Summary
Cell polarity is the fundamental process of breaking symmetry to create asymmetric cellular structures. It is an open question how randomness (stochasticity) in the cell hinders or helps cell polarity. In this work, we focus on the ability of yeast cells to sense a spatial gradient of mating pheromone and respond by forming a projection in the direction of the mating partner. A key element is the polarisome, which is at the tip of the mating projection. We introduce the first model of polarisome formation in yeast. The model is well-supported by experimental data. We perform modeling to explore the role of noise in the formation of the polarisome. By running simulations with and without noise, we arrive at the surprising conclusion, that gradient-dependent polarization is enhanced by stochasticity. Both the tight localization (amplification) and the ability to respond to directional change of the input (tracking) are enhanced by stochastic dynamics, resulting in a more robust behavior. Mutants in which key polarisome proteins have been deleted exhibit broader, noisier polarisome than the wild type. The mutant phenotype is accurately captured by our stochastic simulations. These results demonstrate the importance of stochasticity in the study of cell polarity.
PMCID: PMC3723497  PMID: 23935469
23.  Antagonistic regulation of Fus2p nuclear localization by pheromone signaling and the cell cycle 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2009;184(3):409-422.
When yeast cells sense mating pheromone, they undergo a characteristic response involving changes in transcription, cell cycle arrest in early G1, and polarization along the pheromone gradient. Cells in G2/M respond to pheromone at the transcriptional level but do not polarize or mate until G1. Fus2p, a key regulator of cell fusion, localizes to the tip of the mating projection during pheromone-induced G1 arrest. Although Fus2p was expressed in G2/M cells after pheromone induction, it accumulated in the nucleus until after cell division. As cells arrested in G1, Fus2p was exported from the nucleus and localized to the nascent tip. Phosphorylation of Fus2p by Fus3p was required for Fus2p export; cyclin/Cdc28p-dependent inhibition of Fus3p during late G1 through S phase was sufficient to block exit. However, during G2/M, when Fus3p was activated by pheromone signaling, Cdc28p activity again blocked Fus2p export. Our results indicate a novel mechanism by which pheromone-induced proteins are regulated during the transition from mitosis to conjugation.
PMCID: PMC2646560  PMID: 19188495
24.  Yeast Endocytic Adaptor AP-2 Binds the Stress Sensor Mid2 and Functions in Polarized Cell Responses 
Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)  2014;15(5):546-557.
The AP-2 complex is a heterotetrameric endocytic cargo-binding adaptor that facilitates uptake of membrane proteins during mammalian clathrin-mediated endocytosis. While budding yeast has clear homologues of all four AP-2 subunits which form a complex and localize to endocytic sites in vivo, the function of yeast AP-2 has remained enigmatic. Here, we demonstrate that AP-2 is required for hyphal growth in Candida albicans and polarized cell responses in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Deletion of APM4, the cargo-binding mu subunit of AP-2, causes defects in pseudohyphal growth, generation of a mating projection and the cell wall damage response. In an apm4 null mutant, the cell wall stress sensor Mid2 is unable to relocalize to the tip of a mating projection following pheromone addition, or to the mother bud neck in response to cell wall damage. A direct binding interaction between Mid2 and the mu homology domain of Apm4 further supports a model in which AP-2 binds Mid2 to facilitate its internalization and relocalization in response to specific signals. Thus, Mid2 is the first cargo for AP-2 identified in yeast. We propose that endocytic recycling of Mid2 and other components is required for polarized cell responses ensuring cell wall deposition and is tightly monitored during cell growth.
PMCID: PMC4282331  PMID: 24460703
Candida albicans; endocytosis; Mid2; pheromone; polarity; pseudohyphae; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; stress
25.  Targeting of Chitin Synthase 3 to Polarized Growth Sites in Yeast Requires Chs5p and Myo2p 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1997;136(1):95-110.
Chitin is an essential structural component of the yeast cell wall whose deposition is regulated throughout the yeast life cycle. The temporal and spatial regulation of chitin synthesis was investigated during vegetative growth and mating of Saccharomyces cerevisiae by localization of the putative catalytic subunit of chitin synthase III, Chs3p, and its regulator, Chs5p. Immunolocalization of epitope-tagged Chs3p revealed a novel localization pattern that is cell cycledependent. Chs3p is polarized as a diffuse ring at the incipient bud site and at the neck between the mother and bud in small-budded cells; it is not found at the neck in large-budded cells containing a single nucleus. In large-budded cells undergoing cytokinesis, it reappears as a ring at the neck. In cells responding to mating pheromone, Chs3p is found throughout the projection. The appearance of Chs3p at cortical sites correlates with times that chitin synthesis is expected to occur. In addition to its localization at the incipient bud site and neck, Chs3p is also found in cytoplasmic patches in cells at different stages of the cell cycle. Epitope-tagged Chs5p also localizes to cytoplasmic patches; these patches contain Kex2p, a late Golgi-associated enzyme. Unlike Chs3p, Chs5p does not accumulate at the incipient bud site or neck. Nearly all Chs3p patches contain Chs5p, whereas some Chs5p patches lack detectable Chs3p. In the absence of Chs5p, Chs3p localizes in cytoplasmic patches, but it is no longer found at the neck or the incipient bud site, indicating that Chs5p is required for the polarization of Chs3p. Furthermore, Chs5p localization is not affected either by temperature shift or by the myo2-66 mutation, however, Chs3p polarization is affected by temperature shift and myo2-66. We suggest a model in which Chs3p polarization to cortical sites in yeast is dependent on both Chs5p and the actin cytoskeleton/Myo2p.
PMCID: PMC2132460  PMID: 9008706

Results 1-25 (1079539)