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Mol Genet Genomics. 2015 Feb;290(1):173-85. doi: 10.1007/s00438-014-0911-8. Epub 2014 Sep 10.

Sexual development of Schizosaccharomyces pombe is induced by zinc or iron limitation through Ecl1 family genes.

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Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, Department of Basic Medicinal Sciences, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nagoya University, Chikusa-Ku, Nagoya, 464-8601, Japan.


Ecl1 family genes (ecl1 (+), ecl2 (+), and ecl3 (+)) have been identified as extenders of the chronological lifespan in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Here, we found that the triple-deletion mutant (∆ecl1/2/3) had a defect in sexual development after entry into the stationary phase, although the mutant essentially showed normal mating and sporulation under nitrogen starvation or carbon limitation. In this study, we showed that limitation of zinc or iron can be a signal for sexual development of S. pombe cells grown in Edinburgh minimal medium until the stationary phase and that Ecl1 family genes are important for this process. Because the ∆ecl1/2/3 mutant diminishes the zinc depletion-dependent gene expression, Ecl1 family proteins may function as zinc sensors in the process of sexual development.

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