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Mol Microbiol. 2000 Feb;35(3):477-89.

beta-1,6-Glucan synthesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Biology, McGill University, 1205 Dr Penfield Avenue, Montréal, Québec H3A 1B1, Canada.


beta-1,6-Glucan is an essential fungal-specific component of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell wall that interconnects all other wall components into a lattice. Considerable biochemical and genetic effort has been directed at the identification and characterization of the steps involved in its biosynthesis. Structural studies show that the polymer plays a central role in wall structure, attaching mannoproteins via their glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) glycan remnant to beta-1,3-glucan and chitin. Genetic approaches have identified genes that upon disruption result in beta-1,6-glucan defects of varying severity, often with reduced growth or lethality. These gene products have been localized throughout the secretory pathway and at the cell surface, suggesting a possible biosynthetic route. Current structural and genetic data have therefore allowed the development of models to predict biosynthetic events. Based on knowledge of beta-1,3-glucan and chitin synthesis, it is likely that the bulk of beta-1,6-glucan polymer synthesis occurs at the cell surface, but requires key prior intracellular events. However, the activity of most of the identified gene products remain unknown, making it unclear to what extent and how directly they contribute to the synthesis of this polymer. With the recent availability of new tools, reagents and methods (including genomics), the field is poised for a convergence of biochemical and genetic methods to identify and characterize the biochemical steps in the synthesis of this polymer.

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