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  • 1 Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology, Institute of Botany and Microbiology Belgium
  • 2 VIB Department of Molecular Microbiology Leuven Belgium
  • 3 Delft University of Technology Biotechnology Department Delft The Netherlands
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In yeast the Protein Kinase A (PKA) pathway can be activated by a variety of nutrients. Fermentable sugars, like glucose and sucrose, trigger a spike in the cAMP level, followed by activation of PKA and phosphorylation of target proteins causing a.o. mobilization of reserve carbohydrates, repression of stress-related genes and induction of growth-related genes. Glucose and sucrose are sensed by a G-protein coupled receptor system that activates adenylate cyclase and also activates a bypass pathway causing direct activation of PKA. Addition of other essential nutrients, like nitrogen sources or phosphate, to glucose-repressed nitrogen-or phosphate-starved cells, also triggers rapid activation of the PKA pathway. In these cases cAMP is not involved as a second messenger. Amino acids are sensed by the Gap1 transceptor, previously considered only as an amino acid transporter. Recent results indicate that the amino acid ligand has to induce a specific conformational change for signaling. The same amino acid binding site is involved in transport and signaling. Similar results have been obtained for Pho84 which acts as a transceptor for phosphate activation of the PKA pathway. Ammonium activation of the PKA pathway in nitrogen-starved cells is mediated mainly by the Mep2 transceptor, which belongs to a different class of transporter proteins. Hence, different types of sensing systems are involved in control of the yeast PKA pathway by nutrients.

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