The Ime2 protein kinase family in fungi: more duties than just meiosis

Mol Microbiol. 2011 Apr;80(1):1-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2011.07575.x. Epub 2011 Mar 1.


Ime2 of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae belongs to a family of conserved protein kinases displaying sequence similarities to both cyclin-dependent kinases and mitogen-activated protein kinases. Ime2 has a pivotal role for meiosis and sporulation. The involvement of this protein kinase in the regulation of various key events in meiosis, such as the initiation of DNA replication, the expression of meiosis-specific genes and the passage through the two consecutive rounds of nuclear divisions has been characterized in detail. More than 20 years after the identification of the IME2 gene, a recent report has provided the first evidence for a function of this gene outside of meiosis, which is the regulation of pseudohyphal growth. In the last few years, Ime2-related protein kinases from various fungal species were studied. Remarkably, these homologues are not generally required for meiosis, but instead have other specific tasks. In filamentous ascomycete species, Ime2 homologues are involved in the inhibition of fruiting body formation in response to environmental signals. In the pathogenic basidiomycetes Ustilago maydis and Cryptococcus neoformans, members of this kinase family apparently have primary roles in regulating mating. Thus, Ime2-related kinases exhibit an amazing variety in controlling sexual developmental programs in fungi.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Meiosis / genetics
  • Meiosis / physiology*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Spores, Fungal / enzymology
  • Spores, Fungal / genetics
  • Spores, Fungal / metabolism


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • IME2 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases