The Hog1 MAPK prevents cross talk between the HOG and pheromone response MAPK pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
The MAPKKK Ste11p functions in three Saccharomyces cerevisiae MAPK cascades [the high osmolarity glycerol (HOG), pheromone response, and pseudohyphal/invasive growth pathways], but its activation in response to high osmolarity stimulates only the HOG pathway. To determine what restricts cross-activation of MAPK cascades (cross talk), we have studied mutants in which the pheromone response pathway is activated by high osmolarity (1 M sorbitol). We found that mutations in the HOG1 gene, encoding the p38-type MAPK of the HOG pathway, and in the PBS2 gene, encoding the activating kinase for Hog1p, allowed osmolarity-induced activation of the pheromone response pathway. This cross talk required the osmosensor Sho1p, as well as Ste20p, Ste50p, the pheromone response MAPK cascade (Ste11p, Ste7p, and Fus3p or Kss1p), and Ste12p but not Ste4p or the MAPK scaffold protein, Ste5p. The cross talk in hog1 mutants induced multiple responses of the pheromone response pathway: induction of a FUS1::lacZ reporter, morphological changes, and mating in ste4 and ste5 mutants. We suggest that Hog1p may prevent osmolarity-induced cross talk by inhibiting Sho1p, perhaps as part of a feedback control on the HOG pathway. We have also shown that Ste20p and Ste50p function in the Sho1p branch of the HOG pathway and that a second osmosensor in addition to Sho1p may activate Ste11p. Finally, we have found that pseudohyphal growth exhibited by wild-type (HOG1) strains depends on SHO1, suggesting that Sho1p may be a receptor that feeds into the pseudohyphal growth pathway.
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