How carbohydrates sculpt cells: chemical control of morphogenesis in the yeast cell wall

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2013 Sep;11(9):648-55. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3090.


In budding yeast, the neck that connects the mother and daughter cell is the site of essential functions such as organelle trafficking, septum formation and cytokinesis. Therefore, the morphology of this region, which depends on the surrounding cell wall, must be maintained throughout the cell cycle. Growth at the neck is prevented, redundantly, by a septin ring inside the cell membrane and a chitin ring in the cell wall. Here, we describe recent work supporting the hypothesis that attachment of the chitin ring, which forms at the mother-bud neck during budding, to β-1,3-glucan in the cell wall is necessary to stop growth at the neck. Thus, in this scenario, chemistry controls morphogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Wall / chemistry
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Cell Wall / physiology*
  • Chitin / chemistry
  • Chitin / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / growth & development
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology*
  • Septins / metabolism
  • beta-Glucans / chemistry
  • beta-Glucans / metabolism


  • beta-Glucans
  • Chitin
  • beta-1,3-glucan
  • Septins