Cell Biology

Getting It Right

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Science  08 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5596, pp. 1137-1139
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5596.1137e

When a haploid yeast cell senses mating pheromone released by a cell of the opposite type, it stops dividing and commences polarized growth toward its partner. A cellular projection (shmoo) that harbors a variety of proteins important for signaling, cell adhesion, and fusion forms in preparation for mating. In order to decipher the mechanisms involved in generating and maintaining this polarized structure, Bagnat and Simons looked at the role of lipid rafts—domains composed of sphingolipids and sterols—in the yeast plasma membrane. In pheromone-treated cells, the lipid rafts collected at the tip of the projection, taking with them mating-specific proteins. In mutant yeast that could not synthesize sphingolipids or ergosterol, these proteins failed to concentrate in the projection, and mating was defective. — SMH

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.99, 14183 (2002).

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