MAP kinase and cAMP signaling pathways modulate the pH-induced yeast-to-mycelium dimorphic transition in the corn smut fungus Ustilago maydis

Curr Microbiol. 2004 Oct;49(4):274-81. doi: 10.1007/s00284-004-4315-6.


Acid pH induces the yeast-to-mycelium transition in haploid cells of Ustilago maydis. We tested two signal transduction pathways known to be involved in dimorphism for roles in acid-induced filamentation. In wild-type cells intracellular cAMP levels were reduced under acid growth. A mutant defective in the regulatory subunit of PKA, ubc1, failed to respond to acid induction on solid medium, but in liquid medium showed a mycelial phenotype at acid pH. Mutants in the pheromone-responsive MAP kinase pathway lost the capacity to grow as mycelium at acid pH, while a mutant in the pheromone response-transcriptional regulator, prf1, behaved as wild-type. Filamentation by both ubc1 and prf1 mutants was inhibited by addition of cAMP. A putative MAP kinase cascade adaptor protein gene, ubc2, complemented a previously identified myc mutant strain defective in pH-induced myceliation. These results indicate that pH-dependent dimorphism is regulated by two known signaling pathways but that an effector for cAMP signaling alternative to Ubc1 is present in U. maydis and that Prf1 is not the sole downstream target of MAP kinase signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Culture Media
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Pheromones / pharmacology
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Ustilago / genetics
  • Ustilago / growth & development*
  • Ustilago / physiology


  • Culture Media
  • Pheromones
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases