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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
During mating, budding yeast cells reorient growth toward the highest concentration of pheromone. Bni1p, a formin homologue, is required for this polarized growth by facilitating cortical actin cable assembly. Fus3p, a pheromone-activated MAP kinase, is required for pheromone signaling and cell fusion. We show that Fus3p phosphorylates Bni1p in vitro, and phosphorylation of Bni1p in vivo during the pheromone response is dependent on Fus3p. fus3 mutants exhibited multiple phenotypes similar to bni1 mutants, including defects in actin and cell polarization, as well as Kar9p and cytoplasmic microtubule localization. Disruption of the interaction between Fus3p and the receptor-associated Gα subunit caused similar mutant phenotypes. After pheromone treatment, Bni1p-GFP and Spa2p failed to localize to the cortex of fus3 mutants, and cell wall growth became completely unpolarized. Bni1p overexpression suppressed the actin assembly, cell polarization, and cell fusion defects. These data suggest a model wherein activated Fus3p is recruited back to the cortex, where it activates Bni1p to promote polarization and cell fusion.
yeast; mating; actin; cytoskeleton; signal transduction
Cells localize (polarize) internal components to specific locations in response to external signals such as spatial gradients. For example, yeast cells form a mating projection toward the source of mating pheromone. There are specific challenges associated with cell polarization including amplification of shallow external gradients of ligand to produce steep internal gradients of protein components (e.g. localized distribution), response over a broad range of ligand concentrations, and tracking of moving signal sources. In this work, we investigated the tradeoffs among these performance objectives using a generic model that captures the basic spatial dynamics of polarization in yeast cells, which are small. We varied the positive feedback, cooperativity, and diffusion coefficients in the model to explore the nature of this tradeoff. Increasing the positive feedback gain resulted in better amplification, but also produced multiple steady-states and hysteresis that prevented the tracking of directional changes of the gradient. Feedforward/feedback coincidence detection in the positive feedback loop and multi-stage amplification both improved tracking with only a modest loss of amplification. Surprisingly, we found that introducing lateral surface diffusion increased the robustness of polarization and collapsed the multiple steady-states to a single steady-state at the cost of a reduction in polarization. Finally, in a more mechanistic model of yeast cell polarization, a surface diffusion coefficient between 0.01 and 0.001 µm2/s produced the best polarization performance, and this range is close to the measured value. The model also showed good gradient-sensitivity and dynamic range. This research is significant because it provides an in-depth analysis of the performance tradeoffs that confront biological systems that sense and respond to chemical spatial gradients, proposes strategies for balancing this tradeoff, highlights the critical role of lateral diffusion of proteins in the membrane on the robustness of polarization, and furnishes a framework for future spatial models of yeast cell polarization.
The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been an invaluable model system for the study of the establishment of cellular asymmetry and growth polarity in response to specific physiological cues. A large body of experimental observations has shown that yeast cells are able to break symmetry and establish polarity through two coupled and partially redundant intrinsic mechanisms, even in the absence of any pre-existing external asymmetry. One of these mechanisms is dependent upon interplay between the actin cytoskeleton and the Rho family GTPase Cdc42, whereas the other relies on a Cdc42 GTPase signaling network. Integral to these mechanisms appear to be positive feedback loops capable of amplifying small and stochastic asymmetries. Spatial cues, such as bud scars and pheromone gradients, orient cell polarity by modulating the regulation of the Cdc42 GTPase cycle, thereby biasing the site of asymmetry amplification.
Yeast cells polarize to initiate budding or mating. The Cdc42 GTPase is central to actin-dependent and -independent polarization mechanisms, which can operate without external cues.
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.
As a budding yeast cell elongates toward its mating partner, cytoplasmic microtubules connect the nucleus to the cell cortex at the growth tip. The Kar3 kinesin-like motor protein is then thought to stimulate plus-end depolymerization of these microtubules, thus drawing the nucleus closer to the site where cell fusion and karyogamy will occur. Here, we show that pheromone stimulates a microtubule-independent interaction between Kar3 and the mating-specific Gα protein Gpa1 and that Gpa1 affects both microtubule orientation and cortical contact. The membrane localization of Gpa1 was found to polarize early in the mating response, at about the same time that the microtubules begin to attach to the incipient growth site. In the absence of Gpa1, microtubules lose contact with the cortex upon shrinking and Kar3 is improperly localized, suggesting that Gpa1 is a cortical anchor for Kar3. We infer that Gpa1 serves as a positional determinant for Kar3-bound microtubule plus ends during mating.
Chemical gradients of peptide mating pheromones are necessary for directional growth, which is critical for yeast mating. These gradients are generated by cell-type specific secretion or export and specific degradation in receiving cells. Spatial information is sensed by dedicated seven-transmembrane G-protein coupled receptors and yeast cells are able to detect extremely small differences in ligand concentration across their ∼5-µm cell surface. Here, I will discuss our current knowledge of how cells detect and respond to such shallow chemical gradients and in particular what is known about the proteins that are involved in directional growth and the establishment of the polarity axis during yeast mating.
Pheromone receptors in yeast detect tiny differences in ligand concentration across the cell surface. Downstream signal amplification mechanisms generate a dramatic chemotropic response.
Bimolecular fluorescence complementation assays allow the visualization of the homotypic and heterotypic GTPase interactions in vivo. The Rsr1 homotypic interaction involves its polybasic region and depends on its GDP-GTP exchange factor. Dimerization of GTPases may be an efficient mechanism to set up cellular asymmetry.
Cell polarization occurs along a single axis that is generally determined in response to spatial cues. In budding yeast, the Rsr1 GTPase and its regulators direct the establishment of cell polarity at the proper cortical location in response to cell type–specific cues. Here we use a combination of in vivo and in vitro approaches to understand how Rsr1 polarization is established. We find that Rsr1 associates with itself in a spatially and temporally controlled manner. The homotypic interaction and localization of Rsr1 to the mother-bud neck and to the subsequent division site are dependent on its GDP-GTP exchange factor Bud5. Analyses of rsr1 mutants suggest that Bud5 recruits Rsr1 to these sites and promotes the homodimer formation. Rsr1 also exhibits heterotypic interaction with the Cdc42 GTPase in vivo. We show that the polybasic region of Rsr1 is necessary for the efficient homotypic and heterotypic interactions, selection of a proper growth site, and polarity establishment. Our findings thus suggest that dimerization of GTPases may be an efficient mechanism to set up cellular asymmetry.
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.
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.
Polarization of cell growth along a defined axis is essential for the generation of cell and tissue polarity. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Axl2p plays an essential role in polarity-axis determination, or more specifically, axial budding in MATa or α cells. Axl2p is a type I membrane glycoprotein containing four cadherin-like motifs in its extracellular domain. However, it is not known when and how Axl2p functions together with other components of the axial landmark, such as Bud3p and Bud4p, to direct axial budding. Here, we show that the recruitment of Axl2p to the bud neck after S/G2 phase of the cell cycle depends on Bud3p and Bud4p. This recruitment is mediated via an interaction between Bud4p and the central region of the Axl2p cytoplasmic tail. This region of Axl2p, together with its N-terminal region and its transmembrane domain, is sufficient for axial budding. In addition, our work demonstrates a previously unappreciated role for Axl2p. Axl2p interacts with Cdc42p and other polarity-establishment proteins, and it regulates septin organization in late G1 independently of its role in polarity-axis determination. Together, these results suggest that Axl2p plays sequential and distinct roles in the regulation of cellular morphogenesis in yeast cell cycle.
Cell polarization involves specifying an area on the cell surface and organizing the cytoskeleton towards that landmark. The mechanisms by which external signals are translated into internal landmarks for polarization are poorly understood. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae exhibits polarized growth during mating: the actin cytoskeleton of each cell polarizes towards its partner, presumably to allow efficient cell fusion. The external signal which determines the landmark for polarization is thought to be a gradient of peptide pheromone released by the mating partner. Here we described mutants that exhibit random polarization. Using two assays, including a direct microscope assay for orientation (Segall, J. 1993. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 90:8332- 8337), we show that these mutants cannot locate the source of a pheromone gradient although they are able to organize their cytoskeleton. These mutants appear to be defective in mating because they are unable to locate the mating partner. They carry mutations of the FAR1 gene, denoted far1-s, and identify a new function for the Far1 protein. Its other known function is to promote cell cycle arrest during mating by inhibiting a cyclin-dependent kinase (Peter, M., and I. Herskowitz. 1994. Science (Wash. DC). 265:1228-1232). The far1-s mutants exhibit normal cell cycle arrest in response to pheromone, which suggests that Far1 protein plays two distinct roles in mating: one in cell cycle arrest and the other in orientation towards the mating partner.
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.
The dynamic regulation of polarized cell growth allows cells to form structures of defined size and shape. We have studied the regulation of polarized growth using mating yeast as a model. Haploid yeast cells treated with high concentration of pheromone form successive mating projections that initiate and terminate growth with regular periodicity. The mechanisms that control the frequency of growth initiation and termination under these conditions are not well understood. We found that the polarisome components Spa2, Pea2, and Bni1 and the Cdc42 regulators Cdc24 and Bem3 control the timing and frequency of projection formation. Loss of polarisome components and mutation of Cdc24 decrease the frequency of projection formation, while loss of Bem3 increases the frequency of projection formation. We found that polarisome components and the cell fusion proteins Fus1 and Fus2 are important for the termination of projection growth. Our results define the first molecular regulators that control the timing of growth initiation and termination during eukaryotic cell differentiation.
polarized growth; polarisome; Bni1; Cdc42; Fus1
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.
yeast; microtubules; mitosis; mating; karyogamy
The data presented in this paper suggest that pheromone-induced receptor phosphorylation and internalization, but not actin-dependent directed secretion, are required to establish receptor polarity.
In the best understood models of eukaryotic directional sensing, chemotactic cells maintain a uniform distribution of surface receptors even when responding to chemical gradients. The yeast pheromone receptor is also uniformly distributed on the plasma membrane of vegetative cells, but pheromone induces its polarization into “crescents” that cap the future mating projection. Here, we find that in pheromone-treated cells, receptor crescents are visible before detectable polarization of actin cables and that the receptor can polarize in the absence of actin-dependent directed secretion. Receptor internalization, in contrast, seems to be essential for the generation of receptor polarity, and mutations that deregulate this process confer dramatic defects in directional sensing. We also show that pheromone induces the internalization and subsequent polarization of the mating-specific Gα and Gβ proteins and that the changes in G protein localization depend on receptor internalization and receptor–Gα coupling. Our data suggest that the polarization of the receptor and its G protein precedes actin polarization and is important for gradient sensing. We propose that the establishment of receptor/G protein polarity depends on a novel mechanism involving differential internalization and that this serves to amplify the shallow gradient of activated receptor across the cell.
Summary: The establishment of cell polarity is critical for the development of many organisms and for the function of many cell types. A large number of studies of diverse organisms from yeast to humans indicate that the conserved, small-molecular-weight GTPases function as key signaling proteins involved in cell polarization. The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a particularly attractive model because it displays pronounced cell polarity in response to intracellular and extracellular cues. Cells of S. cerevisiae undergo polarized growth during various phases of their life cycle, such as during vegetative growth, mating between haploid cells of opposite mating types, and filamentous growth upon deprivation of nutrition such as nitrogen. Substantial progress has been made in deciphering the molecular basis of cell polarity in budding yeast. In particular, it becomes increasingly clear how small GTPases regulate polarized cytoskeletal organization, cell wall assembly, and exocytosis at the molecular level and how these GTPases are regulated. In this review, we discuss the key signaling pathways that regulate cell polarization during the mitotic cell cycle and during mating.
Yeast cells approach a mating partner by polarizing along a gradient of mating pheromones that are secreted by cells of the opposite mating type. The Bar1 protease is secreted by a-cells and, paradoxically, degrades the α-factor pheromones which are produced by cells of the opposite mating type and trigger mating in a-cells. This degradation may assist in the recovery from pheromone signaling but has also been shown to play a positive role in mating. Previous studies suggested that widely diffusing protease can bias the pheromone gradient towards the closest secreting cell. Here, we show that restricting the Bar1 protease to the secreting cell itself, preventing its wide diffusion, facilitates discrimination between equivalent mating partners. This may be mostly relevant during spore germination, where most mating events occur in nature.
Gradient; Yeast; Mating
Cytokinesis requires the polarization of the actin cytoskeleton, the secretion machinery, and the correct positioning of the division axis. Budding yeast cells commit to their cytokinesis plane by choosing a bud site and polarizing their growth. Iqg1p (Cyk1p) was previously implicated in cytokinesis (Epp and Chant, 1997; Lippincott and Li, 1998; Osman and Cerione, 1998), as well as in the establishment of polarity and protein trafficking (Osman and Cerione, 1998). To better understand how Iqg1p influences these processes, we performed a two-hybrid screen and identified the spatial landmark Bud4p as a binding partner. Iqg1p can be coimmunoprecipitated with Bud4p, and Bud4p requires Iqg1p for its proper localization. Iqg1p also appears to specify axial bud-site selection and mediates the proper localization of the septin, Cdc12p, as well as binds and helps localize the secretion landmark, Sec3p. The double mutants iqg1Δsec3Δ and bud4Δsec3Δ display defects in polarity, budding pattern and cytokinesis, and electron microscopic studies reveal that these cells have aberrant septal deposition. Taken together, these findings suggest that Iqg1p recruits landmark proteins to form a targeting patch that coordinates axial budding with cytokinesis.
Iqg1; Bud4; Sec3; polarity; cytokinesis
Correct positioning of polarity axis in response to internal or external cues is central to cellular morphogenesis and cell fate determination. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Bud3p plays a key role in the axial bud-site selection (axial budding) process in which cells assemble the new bud next to the preceding cell division site. Bud3p is thought to act as a component of a spatial landmark. However, it is not clear how Bud3p interacts with other components of the landmark, such as the septins, to control axial budding. Here, we report that overexpression of Bud3p causes the formation of small septin rings (∼1 µm in diameter) and arcs aside from previously reported spiral-like septin structures. Bud3p closely associates with the septins in vivo as Bud3p colocalizes with these aberrant septin structures and forms a complex with two septins, Cdc10p and Cdc11p. The interaction of Bud3p with the septins may involve multiple regions of Bud3p including 1–858, 850–1220, and 1221–1636 a.a. since they all target to the bud neck but exhibit different effects on septin organization when overexpressed. In addition, our study reveals that the axial budding function of Bud3p is mediated by the N-terminal region 1–858. This region shares an amphipathic helix (850–858) crucial for bud neck targeting with the middle portion 850–1103 involved in the formation of ectopic septin spirals and rings. Interestingly, the Dbl-homology domain located in 1–858 is dispensable for axial bud-site selection. Our findings suggest that multiple regions of Bud3p ensure efficient targeting of Bud3p to the bud neck in the assembly of the axial landmark and distinct domains of Bud3p are involved in axial bud-site selection and other cellular processes.