Regulators of pseudohyphal differentiation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae identified through multicopy suppressor analysis in ammonium permease mutant strains

Genetics. 1998 Dec;150(4):1443-57. doi: 10.1093/genetics/150.4.1443.


Nitrogen-starved diploid cells of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae differentiate into a filamentous, pseudohyphal growth form. Recognition of nitrogen starvation is mediated, at least in part, by the ammonium permease Mep2p and the Galpha subunit Gpa2p. Genetic activation of the pheromone-responsive MAP kinase cascade, which is also required for filamentous growth, only weakly suppresses the filamentation defect of Deltamep2/Deltamep2 and Deltagpa2/Deltagpa2 strain. Surprisingly, deletion of Mep1p, an ammonium permease not previously thought to regulate differentiation, significantly enhances the potency of MAP kinase activation, such that the STE11-4 allele induces filamentation to near wild-type levels in Deltamep1/Deltamep1 Deltamep2/Deltamep2 and Deltamep1/Deltamep1 Deltagpa2/Deltagpa2 strains. To identify additional regulatory components, we isolated high-copy suppressors of the filamentation defect of the Deltamep1/Deltamep1 Deltamep2/Deltamep2 mutant. Multicopy expression of TEC1, PHD1, PHD2 (MSS10/MSN1/FUP4), MSN5, CDC6, MSS11, MGA1, SKN7, DOT6, HMS1, HMS2, or MEP2 each restored filamentation in a Deltamep1/Deltamep1 Deltamep2/Deltamep2 strain. Overexpression of SRK1 (SSD1), URE2, DAL80, MEP1, or MEP3 suppressed only the growth defect of the Deltamep1/Deltamep1 Deltamep2/Deltamep2 mutant strain. Characterization of these genes through deletion analysis and epistasis underscores the complexity of this developmental pathway and suggests that stress conditions other than nitrogen deprivation may also promote filamentous growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology*
  • Cation Transport Proteins*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Epistasis, Genetic
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / physiology*
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits*
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Fungal Proteins
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits
  • MEP1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • MEP2 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Gpa2 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins