Cell polarity in yeast

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 1999;15:365-91. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.15.1.365.


Subcellular asymmetry, cell polarity, is fundamental to the diverse specialized functions of eukaryotic cells. In yeast, cell polarization is essential to division and mating. As a result, this highly accessible experimental system serves as a paradigm for deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying the generation of polarity. Beyond yeast, cell polarity is essential to the partitioning of cell fate in embryonic development, the generation of axons and their guidance during neuronal development, and the intimate communication between lymphocytes within the immune system. The polarization of yeast cells shares many features with that of these more complex examples, including regulation by both intrinsic and extrinsic cues, conserved regulatory molecules such as Cdc42 GTPase, and asymmetry of the cytoskeleton as its centerpiece. This review summarizes the molecular pathways governing the generation of cell polarity in yeast.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Polarity / physiology*
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Yeasts / cytology*
  • Yeasts / metabolism