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J Cell Sci. 2003 Jun 1;116(Pt 11):2137-47.

Signal pathway integration in the switch from the mitotic cell cycle to meiosis in yeast.

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  • 1Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics, School of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 5007 Rockhill Rd, Kansas City, MO 64112, USA.


Diploid yeast, like most eukaryotes, can undergo meiotic differentiation to form haploid gametes. Meiotic differentiation and cell growth (proliferation) are mutually exclusive programs, and in yeast the switch between growth and meiosis is controlled by nutritional signals. The signaling pathways that mediate nutritional controls on meiotic initiation fall into three broad classes: those that respond to nutrient starvation, those that respond to non-fermentable carbon sources, and those that respond to glucose. At the onset of meiosis, nutritional signaling pathways converge on transcriptional regulation of two genes: IME1, which encodes a transcription factor; and IME2, which encodes a protein kinase. Transcription of IME1 and IME2 trigger initiation of meiosis, and the expression of these two genes is linked with one other, with expression of later meiotic genes and with early meiotic events such as DNA replication. In addition, the signaling pathways that control IME1 and IME2 expression are themselves integrated through a variety of mechanisms. Thus the signal network that controls the switch from growth to meiotic differentiation provides a signaling code that translates different combinations of extracellular signals into appropriate cellular responses.

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