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Sci. Signal., 19 October 2010
Vol. 3, Issue 144, p. ra75
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2001275]


Single-Cell Analysis Reveals That Insulation Maintains Signaling Specificity Between Two Yeast MAPK Pathways with Common Components

Jesse C. Patterson, Evguenia S. Klimenko, and Jeremy Thorner*

Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720–3202, USA.

Abstract: Eukaryotic cells use multiple mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades to evoke appropriate responses to external stimuli. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the MAPK Fus3 is activated by pheromone-binding heterotrimeric guanosine triphosphate–binding protein (G protein)–coupled receptors to promote mating, whereas the MAPK Hog1 is activated by hyperosmotic stress to elicit the high-osmolarity glycerol (HOG) response. Although these MAPK pathways share several upstream components, exposure to either pheromone or osmolyte alone triggers only the appropriate response. We used fluorescence localization– and transcription-specific reporters to assess activation of these pathways in individual cells on the minute and hour time scale, respectively. Dual activation of these two MAPK pathways occurred over a broad range of stimulant concentrations and temporal regimes in wild-type cells subjected to costimulation. Thus, signaling specificity is achieved through an "insulation" mechanism, not a "cross-inhibition" mechanism. Furthermore, we showed that there was a critical period during which Hog1 activity had to occur for proper insulation of the HOG pathway.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jthorner{at}

Citation: J. C. Patterson, E. S. Klimenko, J. Thorner, Single-Cell Analysis Reveals That Insulation Maintains Signaling Specificity Between Two Yeast MAPK Pathways with Common Components. Sci. Signal. 3, ra75 (2010).

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