Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology


Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology

First Thesis Advisor

Dr. Duane D. Jenness


Pheromones, Saccharomyces cerevisiae


The cell division of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is controlled by the action of pheromones at the G1 phase of the cell cycle. A general method was developed for the isolation of constitutive mutants in the pheromone response pathway. Recessive alleles of the SCG1 gene (encoding the α subunit of a G protein) were isolated as well as a dominant mutation in the STE4 gene (encoding the β subunit of a G protein). Analysis of double mutants suggested that the STE4 gene product functions after the SCG1 product but before the STE5 gene product. Double mutants carrying either scg1 or STE4Hp1 constitutive alleles together with the temperature-sensitive unresponsive mutation, ste5-3ts, showed arrest and recovery when shifted from 34° C to 22° C. Recovery from the constitutive signal was independent of the receptor. The STE4Hp1 sst2 ste5ts triple mutant was not able to recover from arrest, suggesting that an SST2-dependent mechanism is involved in recovery of the STE4Hp1 mutant from constitutive arrest. In contrast, the scg1-7 sst2 ste5ts triple mutant recovered only partially suggesting that even though SST2 gene product is probably involved in recovery of the scg1-7 mutant, this mutant can recover by an SST2-independent mechanism. This implies existence of another, SST2-independent postreceptor recovery mechanism. The scg1-null mutant do not recover from constitutive arrest (J. Hirschman, personal communication). Both recovery mechanisms probably operate at the G protein step. Isolation of a constitutive allele of STE5 allowed the definition of its site of action as being after the STE4-controlled step. In addition, constitutive activation of the pheromone pathway by STE5Hp1 mutation was found to be partially dependent on the STE4 and STE18 gene products, the β and γ subunits of a G protein. A comprehensive genetic model is presented to explain the mechanisms of signal transduction and recovery.


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