Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists uncover how hormones achieve their effects

22.10.2007
The first quantitative study of protein complexes that transmit pheromone signals in living yeast cells sheds light on a crucial signalling process also found in humans

New insights into the cellular signal chain through which pheromones stimulate mating in yeast have been gained by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). Similar signal chains are found in humans, where they are involved in many important processes such as the differentiation of nerve cells and the development of cancer. A sophisticated microscopy technique allowed the researchers to observe for the first time the interplay of signalling molecules in living yeast cells, and to work out how they pass on a signal through the cell. The results are published in the current issue of Nature Cell Biology.

Upon release of a pheromone – a chemical signal stimulating mating behaviour - by a nearby cell, yeast cells form a projection that serves as a mating organ and brings about the fusion of two cells. The pheromone binds to a receptor on the cell’s exterior – in the same way as many growth hormones in humans do – which then sets off a signalling chain inside the cell. This chain consists of a series of proteins called MAP kinases, which pass on the signal by interacting with each other and activating the next downstream member of the chain by adding on phosphate residues. At the end of the chain are those molecules that bring about the changes that underpin the formation of the mating organ and the fusion of the cells.

Scientists in the groups of Michael Knop and Philippe Bastiaens at EMBL labelled members of the MAP kinase signalling chain with fluorescent molecules and observed their diffusion and interaction in living yeast cells stimulated with pheromones using a novel microscopic approach that does not disturb the natural state of the cell.

... more about:
»Fus3 »Pheromone »mating »signalling »yeast

“Our method is so precise that we could virtually count the molecules and the interactions between chain components,” says Knop. “To our surprise, the observed proteins in the cell’s interior did not interact more after stimulation by the pheromone. This means changes in interaction are not the way by which the signal is transmitted through the interior of the cell.”

Knop and his team revealed that the actual signal is not produced uniformly throughout the cell but only by the few chain components found in the mating projection. They activate a protein called Fus3, which diffuses into the centre of the cell to spread the signal. While travelling, however, Fus3 is constantly inactivated by proteins found in the interior of the cell.

“We found that the concentration of Fus3 activity is very high at the tip of the developing mating organ and then gradually gets less towards the centre of the cell,” says Celine Maeder, who carried out the research in Knop’s lab. “This sets up a gradient of Fus3 activity, which might allow the signal to have different effects in different parts of the cell.”

“This result is exciting,” concludes former EMBL group leader Philippe Bastiaens, who now is a director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology. “It revolutionizes our understanding of signalling processes and the way we need to study them.” The MAP kinase signalling chain is conserved across species, and the insights gained in yeast contribute to a better understanding of a pathway also relevant to human biology and disease.

Published online in Nature Cell Biology on 21 October 2007.

Anna-Lynn Wegener
Press Officer
EMBL
Meyerhofstrasse 1
D-69117 Heidelberg
tel. +49-6221-3878452
fax +49-6221-387525
wegener@embl.de

Anna-Lynn Wegener | EMBL
Further information:
http://www.embl.org/aboutus/news/press/2007/21oct07/

Further reports about: Fus3 Pheromone mating signalling yeast

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>