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EMBO J. 1992 Mar;11(3):951-60.

Mating pheromones of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe: purification and structural characterization of M-factor and isolation and analysis of two genes encoding the pheromone.

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School of Biochemistry, University of Birmingham, UK.


Conjugation in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe is controlled by the action of mating pheromones. Here I describe the isolation and characterization of M-factor, the pheromone released by M-type cells. M-factor is a nanopeptide in which the carboxy-terminal cysteine residue is carboxy-methylated and S-alkylated, probably with a farnesyl residue: Tyr-Thr-Pro-Lys-Val-Pro-Tyr-Met-Cys(S-farnesyl)-OCH3. Evidence for this structure was obtained by amino acid analysis, mass spectrometry and tandem mass spectrometry of the native M-factor. Two genes encoding the M-factor were also identified and characterized. It appears that M-factor is synthesized as a larger precursor which is post-translationally cleaved and modified to yield the active pheromone. The proposed modifications are consistent with mechanisms known to exist in other yeast and higher eukaryotes.

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