The alpha-factor receptor C-terminus is important for mating projection formation and orientation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Laura G. Vallier, Jeffrey E. Segall, Michael Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Successful mating of MATa Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells is dependent on Ste2p, the α-factor receptor. Besides receiving the pheromone signal and transducing it through the G-protein coupled MAP kinase pathway, Ste2p is active in the establishment and orientation of the mating projection. We investigated the role of the carboxyl terminus of the receptor in mating projection formation and orientation using a spatial gradient assay. Cells carrying the ste2-T326 mutation, truncating 105 of the 135 amino acids in the receptor tail including a motif necessary for its ligand-mediated internalization, display slow onset of projection formation, abnormal shmoo morphology, and reduced ability to orient the mating projection toward a pheromone source. This reduction was due to the increased loss of mating projection orientation in a pheromone gradient. Cells with a mutated endocytosis motif were defective in reorientation in a pheromone gradient. ste2-Δ296 cells, which carry a complete truncation of the Ste2p tail, exhibit a severe defect in projection formation, and those projections that do form are unable to orient in a pheromone gradient. These results suggest a complex role for the Ste2p carboxy-terminal tail in the formation, orientation, and directional adjustment of the mating projection, and that endocytosis of the receptor is important for this process. In addition, mutations in RSR1/BUD1 and SPA2, genes necessary for budding polarity, exhibited little or no defect in formation or orientation of mating projections. We conclude that mating projection orientation depends upon the carboxyl terminus of the pheromone receptor and not the directional machinery used in budding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-266
Number of pages16
JournalCell Motility and the Cytoskeleton
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002


  • Endocytosis
  • Mating
  • Pheromone gradient
  • Pheromone receptor
  • Polarized cell growth
  • Yeast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Cell Biology


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