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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26081. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026081. Epub 2011 Oct 17.

Multiple TORC1-associated proteins regulate nitrogen starvation-dependent cellular differentiation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, United States of America.



The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae undergoes differentiation into filamentous-like forms and invades the growth medium as a foraging response to nutrient and environmental stresses. These developmental responses are under the downstream control of effectors regulated by the cAMP/PKA and MAPK pathways. However, the upstream sensors and signals that induce filamentous growth through these signaling pathways are not fully understood. Herein, through a biochemical purification of the yeast TORC1 (Target of Rapamycin Complex 1), we identify several proteins implicated in yeast filamentous growth that directly associate with the TORC1 and investigate their roles in nitrogen starvation-dependent or independent differentiation in yeast.


We isolated the endogenous TORC1 by purifying tagged, endogenous Kog1p, and identified associated proteins by mass spectrometry. We established invasive and pseudohyphal growth conditions in two S. cerevisiae genetic backgrounds (Σ1278b and CEN.PK). Using wild type and mutant strains from these genetic backgrounds, we investigated the roles of TORC1 and associated proteins in nitrogen starvation-dependent diploid pseudohyphal growth as well as nitrogen starvation-independent haploid invasive growth.


We show that several proteins identified as associated with the TORC1 are important for nitrogen starvation-dependent diploid pseudohyphal growth. In contrast, invasive growth due to other nutritional stresses was generally not affected in mutant strains of these TORC1-associated proteins. Our studies suggest a role for TORC1 in yeast differentiation upon nitrogen starvation. Our studies also suggest the CEN.PK strain background of S. cerevisiae may be particularly useful for investigations of nitrogen starvation-induced diploid pseudohyphal growth.

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