Cell differentiation requires different pathways to act in concert to produce a specialized cell type. The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae undergoes filamentous growth in response to nutrient limitation. Differentiation to the filamentous cell type requires multiple signaling pathways, including a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. To identify new regulators of the filamentous growth MAPK pathway, a genetic screen was performed with a collection of 4072 nonessential deletion mutants constructed in the filamentous (Σ1278b) strain background. The screen, in combination with directed gene-deletion analysis, uncovered 97 new regulators of the filamentous growth MAPK pathway comprising 40% of the major regulators of filamentous growth. Functional classification extended known connections to the pathway and identified new connections. One function for the extensive regulatory network was to adjust the activity of the filamentous growth MAPK pathway to the activity of other pathways that regulate the response. In support of this idea, an unregulated filamentous growth MAPK pathway led to an uncoordinated response. Many of the pathways that regulate filamentous growth also regulated each other's targets, which brings to light an integrated signaling network that regulates the differentiation response. The regulatory network characterized here provides a template for understanding MAPK-dependent differentiation that may extend to other systems, including fungal pathogens and metazoans.
Chavel, C. A., Caccamise, L. M., Li, B., & Cullen, P. J. (2014). Global regulation of a differentiation MAPK pathway in yeast. Genetics, 198(3), 1309–1328. https://doi.org/10.1534/genetics.114.168252