Exploratory polarization facilitates mating partner selection in <i>Saccharomyces cerevisiae</i>.

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Yeast decode pheromone gradients to locate mating partners, providing a model for chemotropism. How yeast polarize toward a single partner in crowded environments is unclear. Initially, cells often polarize in unproductive directions, but then they relocate the polarity site until two partners' polarity sites align, whereupon the cells "commit" to each other by stabilizing polarity to promote fusion. Here we address the role of the early mobile polarity sites. We found that commitment by either partner failed if just one partner was defective in generating, orienting, or stabilizing its mobile polarity sites. Mobile polarity sites were enriched for pheromone receptors and G proteins, and we suggest that such sites engage in an exploratory search of the local pheromone landscape, stabilizing only when they detect elevated pheromone levels. Mobile polarity sites were also enriched for pheromone secretion factors, and simulations suggest that only focal secretion at polarity sites would produce high pheromone concentrations at the partner's polarity site, triggering commitment.


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Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Cell Polarity, Tropism, Secretory Pathway, Mating Factor


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Clark-Cotton, Manuella R, Nicholas T Henderson, Michael Pablo, Debraj Ghose, Timothy C Elston and Daniel J Lew (2021). Exploratory polarization facilitates mating partner selection in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Molecular biology of the cell, 32(10). pp. 1048–1063. 10.1091/mbc.e21-02-0068 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/24506.

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