Transmission of an external signal from receptors to downstream targets is often mediated by a conserved set of protein kinases that act in sequence (a kinase cascade). In haploid strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a signal initiated by peptide pheromones is transmitted through this kinase cascade to a transcription factor STE12, which is required for the expression of many mating-specific genes. Here it was shown that in diploids some of the same kinases and STE12 are required for filamentous growth, but the pheromone receptors and guanosine triphosphate-binding protein are not required for filament formation. Thus, a similar kinase cascade is activated by different signals in haploids and diploids and mediates different developmental outcomes in the two cell types.
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