Mate and fuse: how yeast cells do it

Laura Merlini, Omaya Dudin, Sophie G. Martin

Abstract

Many cells are able to orient themselves in a non-uniform environment by responding to localized cues. This leads to a polarized cellular response, where the cell can either grow or move towards the cue source. Fungal haploid cells secrete pheromones to signal mating, and respond by growing a mating projection towards a potential mate. Upon contact of the two partner cells, these fuse to form a diploid zygote. In this review, we present our current knowledge on the processes of mating signalling, pheromone-dependent polarized growth and cell fusion in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe, two highly divergent ascomycete yeast models. While the global architecture of the mating response is very similar between these two species, they differ significantly both in their mating physiologies and in the molecular connections between pheromone perception and downstream responses. The use of both yeast models helps enlighten both conserved solutions and species-specific adaptations to a general biological problem.

Footnotes

    • Received January 10, 2013.
    • Accepted February 14, 2013.

    © 2013 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

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