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Mol Biol Cell. 2019 Feb 15;30(4):441-452. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E18-04-0236. Epub 2018 Dec 26.

Cell fusion in yeast is negatively regulated by components of the cell wall integrity pathway.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544.
Department of Biology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057.


During mating, Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells must degrade the intervening cell wall to allow fusion of the partners. Because improper timing or location of cell wall degradation would cause lysis, the initiation of cell fusion must be highly regulated. Here, we find that yeast cell fusion is negatively regulated by components of the cell wall integrity (CWI) pathway. Loss of the cell wall sensor, MID2, specifically causes "mating-induced death" after pheromone exposure. Mating-induced death is suppressed by mutations in cell fusion genes ( FUS1, FUS2, RVS161, CDC42), implying that mid2Δ cells die from premature fusion without a partner. Consistent with premature fusion, mid2Δ shmoos had thinner cell walls and lysed at the shmoo tip. Normally, Cdc42p colocalizes with Fus2p to form a focus only when mating cells are in contact (prezygotes) and colocalization is required for cell fusion. However, Cdc42p was aberrantly colocalized with Fus2p to form a focus in mid2Δ shmoos. A hyperactive allele of the CWI kinase Pkc1p ( PKC1*) caused decreased cell fusion and Cdc42p localization in prezygotes. In shmoos, PKC1* increased Cdc42p localization; however, it was not colocalized with Fus2p or associated with cell death. We conclude that Mid2p and Pkc1p negatively regulate cell fusion via Cdc42p and Fus2p.

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