The transcription factor Flo8 is essential for filamentous growth in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is regulated under the cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA) pathway. To determine whether a similar pathway/regulation exists in Candida albicans, we have cloned C. albicans FLO8 by its ability to complement S. cerevisiae flo8. Deleting FLO8 in C. albicans blocked hyphal development and hypha-specific gene expression. The flo8/flo8 mutant is avirulent in a mouse model of systemic infection. Genome-wide transcription profiling of efg1/efg1 and flo8/flo8 using a C. albicans DNA microarray suggests that Flo8 controls subsets of Efg1-regulated genes. Most of these genes are hypha specific, including HGC1 and IHD1. We also show that Flo8 interacts with Efg1 in yeast and hyphal cells by in vivo immunoprecipitation. Similar to efg1/efg1, flo8/flo8 and cdc35/cdc35 show enhanced hyphal growth under an embedded growth condition. Our results suggest that Flo8 may function downstream of the cAMP/PKA pathway, and together with Efg1, regulates the expression of hypha-specific genes and genes that are important for the virulence of C. albicans.
Yeast flocculation is a phenomenon which is believed to result from an interaction between a lectin-like protein and a mannose chain located on the yeast cell surface. The FLO1 gene, which encodes a cell wall protein, is considered to play an important role in yeast flocculation, which is inhibited by mannose but not by glucose (mannose-specific flocculation). A new homologue of FLO1, named Lg-FLO1, was isolated from a flocculent bottom-fermenting yeast strain in which flocculation is inhibited by both mannose and glucose (mannose/glucose-specific flocculation). In order to confirm that both FLO1 and Lg-FLO1 are involved in the yeast flocculation phenomenon, the FLO1 gene in the mannose-specific flocculation strain was replaced by the Lg-FLO1 gene. The transformant in which the Lg-FLO1 gene was incorporated showed the same flocculation phenotype as the mannose/glucose-specific flocculation strain, suggesting that the FLO1 and Lg-FLO1 genes encode mannose-specific and mannose/glucose-specific lectin-like proteins, respectively. Moreover, the sugar recognition sites for these sugars were identified by expressing chimeric FLO1 and Lg-FLO1 genes. It was found that the region from amino acid 196 to amino acid 240 of both gene products is important for flocculation phenotypes. Further mutational analysis of this region suggested that Thr-202 in the Lg-Flo1 protein and Trp-228 in the Flo1 protein are involved in sugar recognition.
The Flo11/Muc1 flocculin has diverse phenotypic effects. Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells of strain background Σ1278b require Flo11p to form pseudohyphae, invade agar, adhere to plastic, and develop biofilms, but they do not flocculate. We show that S. cerevisiae var. diastaticus strains, on the other hand, exhibit Flo11-dependent flocculation and biofilm formation but do not invade agar or form pseudohyphae. In order to study the nature of the Flo11p proteins produced by these two types of strains, we examined secreted Flo11p, encoded by a plasmid-borne gene, in which the glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor sequences had been replaced by a histidine tag. A protein of approximately 196 kDa was secreted from both strains, which upon purification and concentration, aggregated into a form with a very high molecular mass. When secreted Flo11p was covalently attached to microscopic beads, it conferred the ability to specifically bind to S. cerevisiae var. diastaticus cells, which flocculate, but not to Σ1278b cells, which do not flocculate. This was true for the 196-kDa form as well as the high-molecular-weight form of Flo11p, regardless of the strain source. The coated beads bound to S. cerevisiae var. diastaticus cells expressing FLO11 and failed to bind to cells with a deletion of FLO11, demonstrating a homotypic adhesive mechanism. Flo11p was shown to be a mannoprotein. Bead-to-cell adhesion was inhibited by mannose, which also inhibits Flo11-dependent flocculation in vivo, further suggesting that this in vitro system is a useful model for the study of fungal adhesion.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae generates complex biofilms called mats on low-density (0.3%) agar plates. The mats can be morphologically divided into two regions: (i) hub, the interior region characterized by the presence of wrinkles and channels, and (ii) rim, the smooth periphery. Formation of mats depends on the adhesin Flo11p, which is also required for invasive growth, a phenotype in which the S. cerevisiae yeasts grow as chains of cells that dig into standard-density (2%) agar plates. Although both invasive growth and mat formation depend on Flo11p, mutations that perturb the multivesicular body (MVB) protein sorting pathway inhibit mat formation in a FLO11-independent manner. These mutants, represented by vps27Δ, disrupt mat formation but do not affect invasive growth, FLO11 gene or protein expression, or Flo11p localization. In contrast, an overlapping subset of MVB mutants (represented by ESCRT [endosomal sorting complex required for transport] complex genes such as VPS25) interrupt the Rim101p signal transduction cascade, which is required for FLO11 expression, and thus block both invasive growth and mat formation. In addition, this report shows that mature Flo11p is covalently associated with the cell wall and shed into the extracellular matrix of the growing mat.
The Snf1 protein kinase of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is important for many cellular responses to glucose limitation, including haploid invasive growth. We show here that Snf1 regulates transcription of FLO11, which encodes a cell surface glycoprotein required for invasive growth. We further show that Nrg1 and Nrg2, two repressor proteins that interact with Snf1, function as negative regulators of invasive growth and as repressors of FLO11. We also examined the role of Snf1, Nrg1, and Nrg2 in two other Flo11-dependent processes. Mutations affected the initiation of biofilm formation, which is glucose sensitive, but also affected diploid pseudohyphal differentiation, thereby unexpectedly implicating Snf1 in a response to nitrogen limitation. Deletion of the NRG1 and NRG2 genes suppressed the defects of a snf1 mutant in all of these processes. These findings suggest a model in which the Snf1 kinase positively regulates Flo11-dependent developmental events by antagonizing Nrg-mediated repression of the FLO11 gene.
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae FLO1 gene encodes a large 1,536-amino-acid serine- and threonine-rich protein involved in flocculation. We have assessed the localization of Flo1p by immunoelectron microscopy, and in this study we show that this protein is located in the external mannoprotein layer of the cell wall, at the plasma membrane level and in the periplasm. The protein was also visualized in the endoplasmic reticulum and in the nuclear envelope, indicating that it was secreted through the secretory pathway. The protein was detected by Western blotting in cell wall extracts as a high-molecular-mass (>200 kDa) polydisperse material obviously as a result of extensive N and probably O glycosylation. Flo1p was extracted from cell walls in large amounts by boiling in sodium dodecyl sulfate, suggesting that it is noncovalently anchored to the cell wall network. The membranous forms of Flo1p were shown to be solubilized by phosphatidylinositol-phospholipase C treatment, suggesting that Flo1p is glycosyl phosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchored to this organelle. The expression of truncated forms with the hydrophobic C-terminal domain deleted led to the secretion of the protein in the culture medium. The hydrophobic C terminus, which is a putative GPI anchoring domain, is therefore necessary for the attachment of Flo1p in the cell wall. Deletion analysis also revealed that the N-terminal domain of Flo1p was essential for cellular aggregation. On the whole, our data indicate that Flo1p is a true cell wall protein which plays a direct role in cell-cell interaction.
In baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, cell-cell and cell-surface adhesion are required for haploid invasive growth and diploid pseudohyphal development. These morphogenetic events are induced by starvation for glucose or nitrogen and require the cell surface protein Flo11p. We show that amino acid starvation is a nutritional signal that activates adhesive growth and expression of FLO11 in both haploid and diploid strains in the presence of glucose and ammonium, known suppressors of adhesion. Starvation-induced adhesive growth requires Flo11p and is under control of Gcn2p and Gcn4p, elements of the general amino acid control system. Tpk2p and Flo8p, elements of the cAMP pathway, are also required for activation but not Ste12p and Tec1p, known targets of the mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade. Promoter analysis of FLO11 identifies one upstream activation sequence (UASR) and one repression site (URS) that confer regulation by amino acid starvation. Gcn4p is not required for regulation of the UASR by amino acid starvation, but seems to be indirectly required to overcome the negative effects of the URS on FLO11 transcription. In addition, Gcn4p controls expression of FLO11 by affecting two basal upstream activation sequences (UASB). In summary, our study suggests that amino acid starvation is a nutritional signal that triggers a Gcn4p-controlled signaling pathway, which relieves repression of FLO11 gene expression and induces adhesive growth.
Cell adhesion is a key feature in the regulation of many biological processes. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Flo11p is the major adhesion molecule that controls filamentous growth [1–3] and the expansion of interconnected cells in mats or biofilms . We show here that Flo11p is shed from cells. Flo11p shedding attenuated adherence and contributed to the overall balance in adherence properties that was optimal for filamentous growth and mat formation. Shed Flo11p comprised an essential component of a fluid layer surrounding yeast mats that may be functionally analogous to the mucus secretions of higher eukaryotes. Genome-wide secretion profiling of Flo11p identified new regulatory proteins, including the furin protease Kex2p, which was required for cleavage and maturation of the Flo11p protein. Secreted mucin-like proteins may play unexpected roles in the adherence properties and virulence of microbial pathogens.
filamentous growth; microbial mats; invasive growth; pseudohyphal growth; extracellular matrix; flocculation; anti-adhesion; Flo11
Cell aggregation in unicellular organisms, induced by either cell non-sexual adhesion to yield flocs and biofilm, or pheromone-driving sexual conjugation is of great significance in cellular stress response, medicine, and brewing industries. Most current literatures have focused on one form of cell aggregation termed flocculation and its major molecular determinants, the flocculation (FLO) family genes. Here, we implemented a map-based approach for dissecting the molecular basis of non-sexual cell aggregation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Genome-wide mapping has identified four major quantitative trait loci (QTL) underlying nature variation in the cell aggregation phenotype. High-resolution mapping following up with knockout and allele replacement experiments resolved the QTL into the underlying genes (AMN1, RGA1, FLO1, and FLO8) or even into the causative nucleotide. Genetic variation in the QTL genes can explain up to 46% of phenotypic variation of this trait. Of these genes, AMN1 plays the leading role, differing from the FLO family members, in regulating expression of cell clumping phenotype through inducing cell segregation defect. These findings provide novel insights into the molecular mechanism of how cell aggregation is regulated in budding yeast, and the data will be directly implicated to understand the molecular basis and evolutionary implications of cell aggregation in other fungus species.
cell aggregation; map-based cloning; QTL analysis; Saccharomyces cerevisiae
The budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has emerged as an archetype of eukaryotic cell biology. Here we show that S. cerevisiae is also a model for the evolution of cooperative behavior by revisiting flocculation, a self-adherence phenotype lacking in most laboratory strains. Expression of the gene FLO1 in the laboratory strain S288C restores flocculation, an altered physiological state, reminiscent of bacterial biofilms. Flocculation protects the FLO1-expressing cells from multiple stresses, including antimicrobials and ethanol. Furthermore, FLO1+ cells avoid exploitation by non-expressing flo1 cells by self/non-self recognition: FLO1+ cells preferentially stick to one another, regardless of genetic relatedness across the rest of the genome. Flocculation, therefore, is driven by one of a few known “green beard genes”, which direct cooperation towards other carriers of the same gene. Moreover, FLO1 is highly variable among strains both in expression and in sequence, suggesting that flocculation in S. cerevisiae is a dynamic, rapidly-evolving social trait.
Flocculation; FLO1; drug resistance; evolution; ethanol; selfish gene; Darwin; Dawkins; Hamilton; green beard gene
Cell–cell and cell–surface adherence represents initial steps in forming multicellular aggregates or in establishing cell–surface interactions. The commonly used Saccharomyces cerevisiae laboratory strain S288c carries a flo8 mutation, and is only able to express the flocculin-encoding genes FLO1 and FLO11, when FLO8 is restored. We show here that the two flocculin genes exhibit differences in regulation to execute distinct functions under various environmental conditions. In contrast to the laboratory strain Σ1278b, haploids of the S288c genetic background require FLO1 for cell–cell and cell–substrate adhesion, whereas FLO11 is required for pseudohyphae formation of diploids. In contrast to FLO11, FLO1 repression requires the Sin4p mediator tail component, but is independent of the repressor Sfl1p. FLO1 regulation also differs from FLO11, because it requires neither the KSS1 MAP kinase cascade nor the pathways which lead to the transcription factors Gcn4p or Msn1p. The protein kinase A pathway and the transcription factors Flo8p and Mss11p are the major regulators for FLO1 expression. Therefore, S. cerevisiae is prepared to simultaneously express two genes of its otherwise silenced FLO reservoir resulting in an appropriate cellular surface for different environments.
Diploid yeast develop pseudohyphae in response to nitrogen starvation, while haploid yeast produce invasive filaments which penetrate the agar in rich medium. We have identified a gene, FLO11, that encodes a cell wall protein which is critically required for both invasion and pseudohyphae formation in response to nitrogen starvation. FLO11 encodes a cell surface flocculin with a structure similar to the class of yeast serine/threonine-rich GPI-anchored cell wall proteins. Cells of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain Σ1278b with deletions of FLO11 do not form pseudohyphae as diploids nor invade agar as haploids. In rich media, FLO11 is regulated by mating type; it is expressed in haploid cells but not in diploids. Upon transfer to nitrogen starvation media, however, FLO11 transcripts accumulate in diploid cells, but not in haploids. Overexpression of FLO11 in diploid cells, which are otherwise not invasive, enables them to invade agar. Thus, the mating type repression of FLO11 in diploids grown in rich media suffices to explain the inability of these cells to invade. The promoter of FLO11 contains a consensus binding sequence for Ste12p and Tec1p, proteins known to cooperatively activate transcription of Ty1 elements and the TEC1 gene during development of pseudohyphae. Yeast with a deletion of STE12 does not express FLO11 transcripts, indicating that STE12 is required for FLO11 expression. These ste12-deletion strains also do not invade agar. However, the ability to invade can be restored by overexpressing FLO11. Activation of FLO11 may thus be the primary means by which Ste12p and Tec1p cause invasive growth.
A model is proposed for the mechanism of flocculation interactions in yeasts in which flocculent cells have a recognition factor which attaches to alpha-mannan sites on other cells. This factor may be governed by the expression of the single, dominant gene FLO1. Isogenic strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, differing only at FLO1 and the marker genes ade1 and trp1, were developed to examine the components involved in flocculene. Electron microscopy and concanavalin Aferritin labeling of aggregated cells showed that extensive and intense interactions between cell wall mannan layers mediated cell aggregation. The components of the mannan layer essential for flocculence were Ca2+ ions, alpha-mannan carbohydrates, and proteins. By studying the divalent cation dependence at various pH values and in the presence of competing monovalent cations, flocculation was found to be Ca2+ dependent; however, Mg2+ and Mn2+ ions substituted for Ca2+ under certain conditions. Reversible inhibition of flocculation by concanavalin A and succinylated concanavalin A implicated alpha-branched mannan carbohydrates as one essential component which alone did not determine the strain specificity of flocculence, since nonflocculent strains interacted with and competed for binding sites on flocculent cells. FLO1 may govern the expression of a proteinaceous, lectin-like activity, firmly associated with the cell walls of flocculent cells, which bind to the alpha-mannan carbohydrates of adjoining cells. It was selectively and irreversibly inhibited by proteolysis and reduction of disulfide bonds. The potential of this system as a model for the genetic and biochemical control of cell-cell interactions is discussed.
Candida albicans undergoes a morphological transition from yeast to hyphae in response to a variety of stimuli and growth conditions. We previously isolated a LisH domain containing transcription factor Flo8, which is essential for hyphal development in C. albicans. To search the putative binding partner of Flo8 in C. albicans, we identified C. albicans Mss11, a functional homolog of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Mss11, which also contains a LisH motif at its N terminus. C. albicans Mss11 can interact with Flo8 via the LisH motif by in vivo coimmunoprecipitation. The results of a chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay showed that more Mss11 and Flo8 proteins bound to the upstream activating sequence region of HWP1 promoter in hyphal cells than in yeast cells, and the increased binding of each of these two proteins responding to hyphal induction was dependent on the other. Overexpression of MSS11 enhanced filamentous growth. Deletion of MSS11 caused a profound defect in hyphal development and the induction of hypha-specific genes. Our data suggest that Mss11 functions as an activator in hyphal development of C. albicans. Furthermore, overexpression of FLO8 can bypass the requirement of Mss11 in filamentous formation, whereas overexpression of MSS11 failed to promote hyphae growth in flo8 mutants. In summary, we show that the expression level of MSS11 increases during hyphal induction, and the enhanced expression of MSS11 may contribute to cooperative binding of Mss11 and Flo8 to the HWP1 promoter.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells possess a remarkable capacity to adhere to other yeast cells, which is called flocculation. Flocculation is defined as the phenomenon wherein yeast cells adhere in clumps and sediment rapidly from the medium in which they are suspended. These cell-cell interactions are mediated by a class of specific cell wall proteins, called flocculins, that stick out of the cell walls of flocculent cells. The N-terminal part of the three-domain protein is responsible for carbohydrate binding. We studied the N-terminal domain of the Flo1 protein (N-Flo1p), which is the most important flocculin responsible for flocculation of yeast cells. It was shown that this domain is both O and N glycosylated and is structurally composed mainly of β-sheets. The binding of N-Flo1p to d-mannose, α-methyl-d-mannoside, various dimannoses, and mannan confirmed that the N-terminal domain of Flo1p is indeed responsible for the sugar-binding activity of the protein. Moreover, fluorescence spectroscopy data suggest that N-Flo1p contains two mannose carbohydrate binding sites with different affinities. The carbohydrate dissociation constants show that the affinity of N-Flo1p for mono- and dimannoses is in the millimolar range for the binding site with low affinity and in the micromolar range for the binding site with high affinity. The high-affinity binding site has a higher affinity for low-molecular-weight (low-MW) mannose carbohydrates and no affinity for mannan. However, mannan as well as low-MW mannose carbohydrates can bind to the low-affinity binding site. These results extend the cellular flocculation model on the molecular level.
The biological control of flocculation interactions by factors related to growth under different conditions of aeration was documented with a new assay for flocculence. The degree of flocculence expressed in a genetically defined Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain (FLO1/FLO1 ade1/ade1) remained constant during aerobic growth but varied with aeration. Flocculence was repressed in anaerobically growing cells but was induced in stationary cells or cells returned to aerobic growth. Repression was correlated with the selective inactivation of cell surface lectin-like components. The changes in flocculence were accompanied by changes in 16 extractable proteins separated by electrophoresis; however, a clear correlation between specific protein bands and flocculence could not be established. The study clearly demonstrated that the phenotypic expression of FLO1 could be reproducibly manipulated for experimental purposes by aeration alone.
The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae undergoes a dimorphic filamentous transition in response to nutrient cues that is affected by both mitogen-activated protein kinase and cyclic AMP-protein kinase A signaling cascades. Here two transcriptional regulators, Flo8 and Sfl1, are shown to be the direct molecular targets of protein kinase A. Flo8 and Sfl1 antagonistically control expression of the cell adhesin Flo11 via a common promoter element. Phosphorylation by the protein kinase A catalytic subunit Tpk2 promotes Flo8 binding and activation of the Flo11 promoter and relieves repression by prohibiting dimerization and DNA binding by Sfl1. Our studies illustrate in molecular detail how protein kinase A combinatorially effects a key developmental switch. Similar mechanisms may operate in pathogenic fungi and more complex multicellular eukaryotic organisms.
Flocculation is a very useful phenotype for industrial yeast strains, since it facilitates cell harvest and represents an easy way of cell immobilization in continuous fermentation processes. The present work represents the first time that an inducible flocculation phenotype has been generated in a non flocculent strain of Kluyveromyces marxianus. This was accomplished by expressing Saccharomyces cerevisiae FLO5 gene in K. marxianus CECT 11769 strain. The FLO 5 gene was placed under the control of an EPG promoter, not repressed by glucose and induced by anoxia. Our experimental approach successfully generated two novel K. marxianus flocculent phenotypes: one inducible and one constitutive. The constitutive phenotype originated from deletions in the FLO5 promoter region, indicating the existence of putative upstream repressor site involved in oxygen regulation of the EPG1 promoter. The novel strains here generated had a unique set of characteristics that provided an advantage, over the wild-type strain, for the industrial co-production of ethanol and polygalacturonase.
Kluyveromyces marxianus; Inducible flocculent phenotype; Polygalacturonase; Ethanol
Candida albicans adhesion to host tissues contributes to its virulence and adhesion to medical devices permits biofilm formation, but we know relatively little about the molecular mechanisms governing C. albicans adhesion to materials or mammalian cells. Saccharomyces cerevisiae provides an attractive model system for studying adhesion in yeast because of its well-characterized genetics and gene expression systems and the conservation of signal transduction pathways among the yeasts. In this study, we used a parallel plate flow chamber to screen and characterize attachment of a flo8Δ S. cerevisiae strain expressing a C. albicans genomic library to a polystyrene surface. The gene EAP1 was isolated as a putative cell wall adhesin. Sequence analysis of EAP1 shows that it contains a signal peptide, a glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor site, and possesses homology to many other yeast genes encoding cell wall proteins. In addition to increasing adhesion to polystyrene, heterologous expression of EAP1 in S. cerevisiae and autonomous expression of EAP1 in a C. albicans efg1 homozygous null mutant significantly enhanced attachment to HEK293 kidney epithelial cells. EAP1 expression also restored invasive growth to haploid flo8Δ and flo11Δ strains as well as filamentous growth to diploid flo8/flo8 and flo11/flo11 strains. Transcription of EAP1 in C. albicans is regulated by the transcription factor Efg1p, suggesting that EAP1 expression is activated by the cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase pathway.
Functional divergence of gene duplicates through ectopic recombination
This report reveals that duplicated genes undergo ectopic recombination, which leads to new chimaeric alleles. Mimicking these intergenic recombination events creates chimaera with phenotypes that differ from those of their parental genes.
Gene duplication stimulates evolutionary innovation as the resulting paralogs acquire mutations that lead to sub- or neofunctionalization. A comprehensive in silico analysis of paralogs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae reveals that duplicates of cell-surface and subtelomeric genes also undergo ectopic recombination, which leads to new chimaeric alleles. Mimicking such intergenic recombination events in the FLO (flocculation) family of cell-surface genes shows that chimaeric FLO alleles confer different adhesion phenotypes than the parental genes. Our results indicate that intergenic recombination between paralogs can generate a large set of new alleles, thereby providing the raw material for evolutionary adaptation and innovation.
new genes; innovation; evolution; adhesins; flocculation
In the yeast Saccharomyces diastaticus, expression of the STA1 gene, which encodes an extracellular glucoamylase, is activated by the specific DNA-binding activators Flo8, Mss11, Ste12, and Tec1 and the Swi/Snf chromatin-remodeling complex. Here we show that Flo8 interacts physically and functionally with Mss11. Flo8 and Mss11 bind cooperatively to the inverted repeat sequence TTTGC-n-GCAAA (n = 97) in UAS1-2 of the STA1 promoter. In addition, Flo8 and Mss11 bind indirectly to UAS2-1 of the STA1 promoter by interacting with Ste12 and Tec1, which bind to the filamentation and invasion response element (FRE) in UAS2-1. Furthermore, our findings indicate that the Ste12, Tec1, Flo8, and Mss11 activators and the Swi/Snf complex bind sequentially to the STA1 promoter, as follows: Ste12 and Tec1 bind first to the FRE, whereby they recruit the Swi/Snf complex to the STA1 promoter. Next, the Swi/Snf complex enhances Flo8 and Mss11 binding to UAS1-2. In the final step, Flo8 and Mss11 directly promote association of RNA polymerase II with the STA1 promoter to activate STA1 expression. In the absence of glucose, the levels of Flo8 and Tec1 are greatly increased, whereas the abundances of two repressors, Nrg1 and Sfl1, are reduced, suggesting that the balance of transcriptional regulators may be important for determining activation or repression of STA1 expression.
The budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, responds to various environmental cues by invoking specific adaptive mechanisms for their survival. Under nitrogen limitation, S. cerevisiae undergoes a dimorphic filamentous transition called pseudohyphae, which helps the cell to forage for nutrients and reach an environment conducive for growth. This transition is governed by a complex network of signaling pathways, namely cAMP-PKA, MAPK and TOR, which controls the transcriptional activation of FLO11, a flocculin gene that encodes a cell wall protein. However, little is known about how these pathways co-ordinate to govern the conversion of nutritional availability into gene expression. Here, we have analyzed an integrative network comprised of cAMP-PKA, MAPK and TOR pathways with respect to the availability of nitrogen source using experimental and steady state modeling approach. Our experiments demonstrate that the steady state expression of FLO11 was bistable over a range of inducing ammonium sulphate concentration based on the preculturing condition. We also show that yeast switched from FLO11 expression to accumulation of trehalose, a STRE response controlled by a transcriptional activator Msn2/4, with decrease in the inducing concentration to complete starvation. Steady state analysis of the integrative network revealed the relationship between the environment, signaling cascades and the expression of FLO11. We demonstrate that the double negative feedback loop in TOR pathway can elicit a bistable response, to differentiate between vegetative growth, filamentous growth and STRE response. Negative feedback on TOR pathway function to restrict the expression of FLO11 under nitrogen starved condition and also with re-addition of nitrogen to starved cells. In general, we show that these global signaling pathways respond with specific sensitivity to regulate the expression of FLO11 under nitrogen limitation. The holistic steady state modeling approach of the integrative network revealed how the global signaling pathways could differentiate between multiple phenotypes.
In many industrial fermentation processes, the Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast should ideally meet two partially conflicting demands. During fermentation, a high suspended yeast count is required to maintain a satisfactory rate of fermentation, while at completion, efficient settling is desired to enhance product clarification and recovery. In most fermentation industries, currently used starter cultures do not satisfy this ideal, probably because nonflocculent yeast strains were selected to avoid fermentation problems. In this paper, we assess molecular strategies to optimize the flocculation behavior of S. cerevisiae. For this purpose, the chromosomal copies of three dominant flocculation genes, FLO1, FLO5, and FLO11, of the haploid nonflocculent, noninvasive, and non-flor-forming S. cerevisiae FY23 strain were placed under the transcriptional control of the promoters of the ADH2 and HSP30 genes. All six promoter-gene combinations resulted in specific flocculation behaviors in terms of timing and intensity. The strategy resulted in stable expression patterns providing a platform for the direct comparison and assessment of the specific impact of the expression of individual dominant FLO genes with regard to cell wall characteristics, such as hydrophobicity, biofilm formation, and substrate adhesion properties. The data also clearly demonstrate that the flocculation behavior of yeast strains can be tightly controlled and fine-tuned to satisfy specific industrial requirements.
Mat formation in the bakers' yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a surface-associated phenomenon in which yeast cells spread over the surface of a low-density agar petri plate as a complex film. This spreading growth occurs by sliding motility and is dependent on the adhesion protein (adhesin) Flo11p. In order to identify molecular pathways that govern mat formation, whole-genome transcriptional profiling was used to compare cells growing as a mat to cells growing in a suspension culture (planktonic cells). This analysis revealed that S. cerevisiae upregulates a subset of genes in response to growth on a surface. These genes included the INO1 gene, which encodes the myo-inositol-1-phosphate synthase, which carries out the rate-limiting step in inositol biosynthesis. Further inquiry revealed that a transcription factor that controls INO1 expression, called Opi1p, participates in the regulation of mat formation. Opi1p appears to modulate mat formation by influencing the expression of FLO11. The opi1Δ mutant was found to exhibit reduced FLO11 levels. Consequently, the opi1Δ mutant perturbs the FLO11-dependent phenotype of invasive growth. The opi1Δ mutant's defects in mat formation and invasive growth are dependent on the transcriptional activator Ino2p. These results indicate that Opi1p affects mat formation and invasive growth by participating in the regulation of FLO11.
The 5′ upstream regions of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae glucoamylase-encoding genes STA1 to -3 and of the MUC1 (or FLO11) gene, which is critical for pseudohyphal development, invasive growth, and flocculation, are almost identical, and the genes are coregulated to a large extent. Besides representing the largest yeast promoters identified to date, these regions are of particular interest from both a functional and an evolutionary point of view. Transcription of the genes indeed seems to be dependent on numerous transcription factors which integrate the information of a complex network of signaling pathways, while the very limited sequence differences between them should allow the study of promoter evolution on a molecular level. To investigate the transcriptional regulation, we compared the transcription levels conferred by the STA2 and MUC1 promoters under various growth conditions. Our data show that transcription of both genes responded similarly to most environmental signals but also indicated significant divergence in some aspects. We identified distinct areas within the promoters that show specific responses to the activating effect of Flo8p, Msn1p (or Mss10p, Fup1p, or Phd2p), and Mss11p as well as to carbon catabolite repression. We also identified the STA10 repressive effect as the absence of Flo8p, a transcriptional activator of flocculation genes in S. cerevisiae.