How yeast creates their own signaling landscape

August 28, 2015

Signaling in yeast is often used as a blueprint for human signaling pathways since its general way of function is close to what we can observe in human. This is not only true for signaling pathways within a single yeast cell but also for the ways yeast cells communicate with each other.

During the mating of yeast, individual cells communicate their position using distinct pheromones. However, at the same time they also secrete a protein that destroys those very pheromones and thos paradoxically counteracts this signaling. Using a strategy that allowed us to to visualize the pheromone landscape from fuorescence microscope images without interference, we were able to show that the interplay between creation and destruction of the pheromone allows for a much more informative signaling landscape.

This results in a spatial separation of the yeast culture in subpopulations that engage in mating and others that prefer to continue growth since the cell-to-cell distances are too high to allow for efficient mating.