In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, the mating reaction is controlled by two mating pheromones, M-factor and P-factor, secreted by M- and P-type cells, respectively. M-factor is a C-terminally farnesylated lipid peptide, whereas P-factor is a simple peptide. To examine whether this chemical asymmetry in the two pheromones is essential for conjugation, we constructed a mating system in which either pheromone can stimulate both M- and P-cells, and examined whether the resulting autocrine strains can mate. Autocrine M-cells responding to M-factor successfully mated with P-factor-lacking P-cells, indicating that P-factor is not essential for conjugation; by contrast, autocrine P-cells responding to P-factor were unable to mate with M-factor-lacking M-cells. The sterility of the autocrine P-cells was completely restored by expressing the M-factor receptor. These observations indicate that the different chemical characteristics of the two types of pheromone, a lipid and a simple peptide, are not essential; however, a lipid peptide might be required for successful mating. Our findings allow us to propose a model of the differential roles of M-factor and P-factor in conjugation of S. pombe.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology