STE50 is required to sustain pheromone-induced signal transduction in S. cerevisiae. Here we report that Ste50p is involved in regulating pseudohyphal development. Both of these processes are also dependent on Ste11p. Deletion of STE50 leads to defects in filamentous growth, which can be suppressed by overproduction of Ste11p. Overexpression of STE11 also suppresses the mating defects of ste50 mutants. We have analysed the physical association between Ste50p and Ste11p in extracts of cells harvested under various conditions. A Ste11p-Ste50p complex can be isolated from extracts of cells in which the pheromone response has been activated, as well as from normally growing cells. Formation of the Ste50p-Ste11p complex does not require G(alpha), G(beta), Ste20p or Ste5p. Oligomerisation of Ste11p is shown to be independent of activation of the pheromone response pathway, and occurs in the absence of Ste50p. We conclude that Ste50p is necessary for Ste11p activity in at least two differentiation programmes: mating and filamentous growth.
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