Cell Signaling

Fueling Reproduction

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Science  27 Sep 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6153, pp. 1431
DOI: 10.1126/science.341.6153.1431-a

New studies in yeast may improve our understanding of human metabolic disorders. Clement et al. characterized regulation of the heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide–binding protein (G protein) alpha subunit Gpa1 in yeast. Gpa1 is part of the G protein that facilitates signaling by the receptor for mating pheromone. Clement et al. report that Gpa1 provides a molecular link to signaling pathways that monitor nutrient availability. The same enzymes that regulated phosphorylation of the yeast homolog of AMPK (adenosine monophosphate–activated protein kinase, an enzyme critical to energy sensing in mammals) also regulated phosphorylation of Gpa1 when cells were deprived of glucose. Such phosphorylation-modulated activity of Gpa1 thus couples mating efficiency to nutrient availability. These signaling pathways are highly conserved, and thus these results suggest possible crosstalk between nutrient and energy-sensing pathways and G protein–coupled receptor–regulated processes in higher organisms as well. Schmidt provides context in a Perspective.

Sci. Signal. 6, 10.1126/scisignal.2004143; 10.1126/scisignal.2004589 (2013).

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