Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2002 Jun;66(2):300-72.

Osmotic stress signaling and osmoadaptation in yeasts.

Author information

  • 1Department of Cell and Molecular Biology/Microbiology, Göteborg University, S-405 30 Göteborg, Sweden.


The ability to adapt to altered availability of free water is a fundamental property of living cells. The principles underlying osmoadaptation are well conserved. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an excellent model system with which to study the molecular biology and physiology of osmoadaptation. Upon a shift to high osmolarity, yeast cells rapidly stimulate a mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascade, the high-osmolarity glycerol (HOG) pathway, which orchestrates part of the transcriptional response. The dynamic operation of the HOG pathway has been well studied, and similar osmosensing pathways exist in other eukaryotes. Protein kinase A, which seems to mediate a response to diverse stress conditions, is also involved in the transcriptional response program. Expression changes after a shift to high osmolarity aim at adjusting metabolism and the production of cellular protectants. Accumulation of the osmolyte glycerol, which is also controlled by altering transmembrane glycerol transport, is of central importance. Upon a shift from high to low osmolarity, yeast cells stimulate a different MAP kinase cascade, the cell integrity pathway. The transcriptional program upon hypo-osmotic shock seems to aim at adjusting cell surface properties. Rapid export of glycerol is an important event in adaptation to low osmolarity. Osmoadaptation, adjustment of cell surface properties, and the control of cell morphogenesis, growth, and proliferation are highly coordinated processes. The Skn7p response regulator may be involved in coordinating these events. An integrated understanding of osmoadaptation requires not only knowledge of the function of many uncharacterized genes but also further insight into the time line of events, their interdependence, their dynamics, and their spatial organization as well as the importance of subtle effects.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center