Chapter 30 : How Fungi Sense Sugars, Alcohols, and Amino Acids

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How Fungi Sense Sugars, Alcohols, and Amino Acids, Page 1 of 2

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G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are an important receptor gene family and play important roles in sensing sugars in eukaryotic organisms, including fungi. Recent studies on the interactions between and plants, a major environmental niche, reveal that -inositol, produced and secreted by plants, is sensed by the fungus and promotes fungal sexual reproduction, providing a potential explanation for how this organism completes its life cycle in nature. Several fusel alcohols, such as 1-butanol and isoamyl alcohol, stimulate filamentous growth of haploid cells. A recent study showed that aromatic alcohols (such as tryptophol and phenylethanol) secreted by yeast cells function as quorum-sensing molecules and stimulate filamentous growth through a Flo11-dependent mechanism. Amino acids are important nutrients for fungi and are detected by specialized sensor systems, which include the general amino acid permease Gap1, the Ssy1-Ptr3-Ssy5 (SPS) system, GPCRs, and the target of rapamycin (TOR). In , three transport systems have been described based on the analysis of the kinetics of amino acid uptake and the patterns of competitive inhibition between amino acids. The Gap1 homolog in is encoded by the locus, which can transport all L-amino acids except proline. Besides this system, two other transport systems have also been identified. One is encoded by the MTR gene and transports neutral and aromatic amino acids. The other is encoded by the PMB gene and transports basic amino acids, such as arginine and lysine.

Citation: Xue* C, Ebbole D, Heitman J. 2010. How Fungi Sense Sugars, Alcohols, and Amino Acids, p 469-479. In Borkovich K, Ebbole D (ed), Cellular and Molecular Biology of Filamentous Fungi. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816636.ch30

Key Concept Ranking

Aromatic Amino Acids
Basic Amino Acids
Sulfur Amino Acids
Two-Component Signal Transduction Systems
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Image of FIGURE 1

Carbon sensors in yeast. utilizes multiple sensory systems to sense and import carbon sources from the environment. A Gpr1 GPCR system senses extracellular sugars and activates the Gpa2-cAMP-PKA signaling pathway to control pseudohyphal differentiation. Glucose can also be sensed by a transporter-like receptor system that involves Snf3 and Rgt2, which regulate the expression of the major hexose transporter gene family (HXT). The HXT proteins import glucose to undergo glycolysis, and its intermediate, glucose-6-phosphate, also triggers the activation of cAMP-PKA signaling. Yeasts may also sense -inositol through the -inositol transporter gene family and utilize inositol as a precursor for many metabolic and catabolic processes that play critical roles in signaling regulation and cell developmental processes. A variety of alcohol-related products (such as fusel alcohols, aromatic alcohols, and farnesol-related molecules) that are produced by yeasts themselves provide an autoregulatory machinery to regulate yeast cell population and filamentation processes.

Citation: Xue* C, Ebbole D, Heitman J. 2010. How Fungi Sense Sugars, Alcohols, and Amino Acids, p 469-479. In Borkovich K, Ebbole D (ed), Cellular and Molecular Biology of Filamentous Fungi. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816636.ch30
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Image of FIGURE 2

Amino acid sensory systems. Fungal cells require nitrogen sources, including amino acids, from the extracellular environment through a sophisticated sensory network, which involves the general amino acid permease Gap1 to uptake a broad range of amino acids, the SPS system to sense more specific amino acids groups, and two permease systems to respond to oligopeptides, including the PTR system, which imports di/tripeptides, and the OPT system, which transports oligopeptides. This amino acid permease network is highly coordinated through regulation between members and some common regulators, such as Cup9. In addition to the amino acid permeases, GPCR receptors that sense certain amino acids as signaling molecules have also been identified in the pathogenic yeasts and . Also, the Tor protein complex is important for sensing nutrient signals, including amino acids, and regulating the stability of some amino acid permeases, as well as many transcriptional and translational processes.

Citation: Xue* C, Ebbole D, Heitman J. 2010. How Fungi Sense Sugars, Alcohols, and Amino Acids, p 469-479. In Borkovich K, Ebbole D (ed), Cellular and Molecular Biology of Filamentous Fungi. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816636.ch30
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