Life in the midst of scarcity: adaptations to nutrient availability in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
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- Smets, B., Ghillebert, R., De Snijder, P. et al. Curr Genet (2010) 56: 1. doi:10.1007/s00294-009-0287-1
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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.