Reference: Karunanithi S, et al. (2012) Regulation of Mat Responses by a Differentiation MAPK Pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. PLoS One 7(4):e32294

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Abstract


Fungal species exhibit diverse behaviors when presented with extracellular challenges. Pathogenic fungi can undergo cell differentiation and biofilm formation in response to fluctuating nutrient levels, and these responses are required for virulence. In the model fungal eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae, nutrient limitation induces filamentous growth and biofilm/mat formation. Both responses require the same signal transduction (MAPK) pathway and the same cell adhesion molecule (Flo11) but have been studied under different conditions. We found that filamentous growth and mat formation are aspects of a related response that is regulated by the MAPK pathway. Cells in yeast-form mats differentiated into pseudohyphae in response to nutrient limitation. The MAPK pathway regulated mat expansion (in the plane of the XY-axis) and substrate invasion (downward in the plane of the Z-axis), which optimized the mat's response to extracellular nutrient levels. The MAPK pathway also regulated an upward growth pattern (in the plane of the Z-axis) in response to nutrient limitation and changes in surface rigidity. Upward growth allowed for another level of mat responsiveness and resembled a type of colonial chemorepulsion. Together our results show that signaling pathways play critical roles in regulating social behaviors in which fungal cells participate. Signaling pathways may regulate similar processes in pathogens, whose highly nuanced responses are required for virulence.

Reference Type
Journal Article
Authors
Karunanithi S, Joshi J, Chavel C, Birkaya B, Grell L, Cullen PJ
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