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Genetics. 2007 Nov;177(3):1679-89. Epub 2007 Oct 18.

Flo11p-independent control of "mat" formation by hsp70 molecular chaperones and nucleotide exchange factors in yeast.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Microbiologie et Génétique Moléculaire, CNRS, INRA, AgroParisTech, 78850 Thiverval-Grignon, France.


The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been used as a model for fungal biofilm formation due to its ability to adhere to plastic surfaces and to form mats on low-density agar petri plates. Mats are complex multicellular structures composed of a network of cables that form a central hub from which emanate multiple radial spokes. This reproducible and elaborate pattern is indicative of a highly regulated developmental program that depends on specific transcriptional programming, environmental cues, and possibly cell-cell communication systems. While biofilm formation and sliding motility were shown to be strictly dependent on the cell-surface adhesin Flo11p, little is known about the cellular machinery that controls mat formation. Here we show that Hsp70 molecular chaperones play key roles in this process with the assistance of the nucleotide exchange factors Fes1p and Sse1p and the Hsp40 family member Ydj1p. The disruption of these cofactors completely abolished mat formation. Furthermore, complex interactions among SSA genes were observed: mat formation depended mostly on SSA1 while minor defects were observed upon loss of SSA2; additional mutations in SSA3 or SSA4 further enhanced these phenotypes. Importantly, these mutations did not compromise invasive growth or Flo11p expression, suggesting that Flo11p-independent pathways are necessary to form mats.

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