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J Biochem. 2006 Apr;139(4):797-803.

Activation of the HOG pathway upon cold stress in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, The University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0032.


When Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells are exposed to hyper-osmotic stress, the high-osmolarity glycerol response (HOG) pathway is activated to induce osmotic responses. The HOG pathway consists of two upstream osmosensing branches, the SLN1 and SHO1 branches, and a downstream MAP kinase cascade. Although the mechanisms by which these upstream branches transmit signals to the MAP kinase cascade are well understood, the mechanisms by which they sense and respond to osmotic changes are elusive. Here we show that the HOG pathway is activated in an SLN1 branch-dependent manner when cells are exposed to cold stress (0 degrees C treatment). Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) treatment, which rigidifies the cell membrane, also activates the HOG pathway in both SLN1 branch- and SHO1 branch-dependent manners. Moreover, cold stress, as well as hyper-osmotic stress, exhibits a synergistic effect with DMSO treatment on HOG pathway activation. On the other hand, ethanol treatment, which fluidizes the cell membrane, partially represses the cold stress-induced HOG pathway activation. Our results suggest that both osmosensing branches respond to the rigidification of the cell membrane to activate the HOG pathway.

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