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Genetics. 2011 Feb;187(2):455-65. doi: 10.1534/genetics.110.120725. Epub 2010 Nov 23.

The putative lipid transporter, Arv1, is required for activating pheromone-induced MAP kinase signaling in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Pharmacogenomics Division, Medical Diagnostics Laboratories, Hamilton, New Jersey 08690, USA.


Saccharomyces cerevisiae haploid cells respond to extrinsic mating signals by forming polarized projections (shmoos), which are necessary for conjugation. We have examined the role of the putative lipid transporter, Arv1, in yeast mating, particularly the conserved Arv1 homology domain (AHD) within Arv1 and its role in this process. Previously it was shown that arv1 cells harbor defects in sphingolipid and glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) biosyntheses and may harbor sterol trafficking defects. Here we demonstrate that arv1 cells are mating defective and cannot form shmoos. They lack the ability to initiate pheromone-induced G1 cell cycle arrest, due to failure to polarize PI(4,5)P(2) and the Ste5 scaffold, which results in weakened MAP kinase signaling activity. A mutant Ste5, Ste5(Q59L), which binds more tightly to the plasma membrane, suppresses the MAP kinase signaling defects of arv1 cells. Filipin staining shows arv1 cells contain altered levels of various sterol microdomains that persist throughout the mating process. Data suggest that the sterol trafficking defects of arv1 affect PI(4,5)P(2) polarization, which causes a mislocalization of Ste5, resulting in defective MAP kinase signaling and the inability to mate. Importantly, our studies show that the AHD of Arv1 is required for mating, pheromone-induced G1 cell cycle arrest, and for sterol trafficking.

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