PerspectiveCell Biology

Signaling Crosstalk: Integrating Nutrient Availability and Sex

Sci. Signal.  03 Sep 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 291, pp. pe28
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004589

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In yeast, the mating response pathway is activated when a peptide pheromone binds to a heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide–binding protein (G protein)–coupled receptor, which leads to the activation of a mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling cascade and the stimulation of mating behavior. However, when nutrients in the environment are limiting, stimulation of the mating response would be maladaptive. A study indicates that the signaling pathways that respond to nutrient availability dampen the mating response by directly phosphorylating Gpa1, the G protein α subunit that initiates the mating response pathway. Snf1, the yeast homolog of adenosine monophosphate–activated protein kinase, is a highly conserved kinase that maintains energy homeostasis in response to nutrient limitation. The study found that the upstream kinases and phosphatase that control the activity of Snf1 also act on Gpa1 and provide a direct means to coordinate cell behavior and integrate the mating response with nutrient sensing.

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