Research News

Developmental Biology: Protein Motors May Drive Cells on Route to Specialization

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Science  15 Mar 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5255, pp. 1498-1499
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5255.1498

Summary

The ability of parent cells to send progeny on a new and different course underlies all complex life, and researchers are beginning to learn how this happens from yeast. Mother yeast cells are sexually ambidextrous, able to switch between two mating types. But their daughters lack this switching ability. The reason, according to recent research, may lie in a cellular railway running between mother and daughter. Moving along cytoskeletal “railway tracks,” motor proteins shuttle in an unknown regulatory factor that, working through a newly discovered protein called Ash1p, prevents mating-type switching. This pathway is now one of the most carefully mapped journeys toward cell specialization known.