, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 1-32
Date: 07 Jan 2010

Life in the midst of scarcity: adaptations to nutrient availability in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

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Abstract

Cells of all living organisms contain complex signal transduction networks to ensure that a wide range of physiological properties are properly adapted to the environmental conditions. The fundamental concepts and individual building blocks of these signalling networks are generally well-conserved from yeast to man; yet, the central role that growth factors and hormones play in the regulation of signalling cascades in higher eukaryotes is executed by nutrients in yeast. Several nutrient-controlled pathways, which regulate cell growth and proliferation, metabolism and stress resistance, have been defined in yeast. These pathways are integrated into a signalling network, which ensures that yeast cells enter a quiescent, resting phase (G0) to survive periods of nutrient scarceness and that they rapidly resume growth and cell proliferation when nutrient conditions become favourable again. A series of well-conserved nutrient-sensory protein kinases perform key roles in this signalling network: i.e. Snf1, PKA, Tor1 and Tor2, Sch9 and Pho85–Pho80. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview on the current understanding of the signalling processes mediated via these kinases with a particular focus on how these individual pathways converge to signalling networks that ultimately ensure the dynamic translation of extracellular nutrient signals into appropriate physiological responses.

Communicated by S. Hohmann.
B. Smets and R. Ghillebert contributed equally and should be considered co-first authors.