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Biochem J. 2010 Feb 24;426(3):243-53. doi: 10.1042/BJ20091823.

Rho GTPases: regulation of cell polarity and growth in yeasts.

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Instituto de Microbiología Bioquímica, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)/Universidad de Salamanca, Edificio Departamental, 37007 Salamanca, Spain.


Eukaryotic cells display a wide range of morphologies important for cellular function and development. A particular cell shape is made via the generation of asymmetry in the organization of cytoskeletal elements, usually leading to actin localization at sites of growth. The Rho family of GTPases is present in all eukaryotic cells, from yeast to mammals, and their role as key regulators in the signalling pathways that control actin organization and morphogenetic processes is well known. In the present review we will discuss the role of Rho GTPases as regulators of yeasts' polarized growth, their mechanism of activation and signalling pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe. These two model yeasts have been very useful in the study of the molecular mechanisms responsible for cell polarity. As in other organisms with cell walls, yeast's polarized growth is closely related to cell-wall biosynthesis, and Rho GTPases are critical modulators of this process. They provide the co-ordinated regulation of cell-wall biosynthetic enzymes and actin organization required to maintain cell integrity during vegetative growth.

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