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Volume 8, Issue 1, pp. 1 - 27, January 2021

Issue cover
Cover: Photograph of Trichoderma sp. from a pineapple field soil showing growth rings on 10% V8 juice agar (image by Scot Nelson, University of Hawaii at Manoa (USA) retrieved via flickr; the image was modified by MIC). The cover is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. Enlarge issue cover


Milestones in Bacillus subtilis sporulation research

Eammon P. Riley, Corinna Schwarz, Alan I. Derman and Javier Lopez-Garrido

page 1-16 | 10.15698/mic2021.01.739 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Endospore formation has been a rich field of research for more than a century, and has benefited from the powerful genetic tools available in Bacillus subtilis. In this review, we highlight foundational discoveries that shaped the sporulation field, from its origins to the present day, tracing a chronology that spans more than one hundred eighty years. We detail how cell-specific gene expression has been harnessed to investigate the existence and function of intercellular proteinaceous channels in sporulating cells, and we illustrate the rapid progress in our understanding of the cell biology of sporulation in recent years using the process of chromosome translocation as a storyline. Finally, we sketch general aspects of sporulation that remain largely unexplored, and that we envision will be fruitful areas of future research.

Research Articles

Nutrient sensing and cAMP signaling in yeast: G-protein coupled receptor versus transceptor activation of PKA

Griet Van Zeebroeck, Liesbeth Demuyser, Zhiqiang Zhang, Ines Cottignie and Johan M. Thevelein

page 17-27 | 10.15698/mic2021.01.740 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

A major signal transduction pathway regulating cell growth and many associated physiological properties as a function of nutrient availability in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the protein kinase A (PKA) pathway. Glucose activation of PKA is mediated by G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) Gpr1, and secondary messenger cAMP. Other nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphate and sulfate, activate PKA in accordingly-starved cells through nutrient transceptors, but apparently without cAMP signaling. We have now used an optimized EPAC-based fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) sensor to precisely monitor in vivo cAMP levels after nutrient addition. We show that GPCR-mediated glucose activation of PKA is correlated with a rapid transient increase in the cAMP level in vivo, whereas nutrient transceptor-mediated activation by nitrogen, phosphate or sulfate, is not associated with any significant increase in cAMP in vivo. We also demonstrate direct physical interaction between the Gap1 amino acid transceptor and the catalytic subunits of PKA, Tpk1, 2 and 3. In addition, we reveal a conserved consensus motif in the nutrient transceptors that is also present in Bcy1, the regulatory subunit of PKA. This suggests that nutrient transceptor activation of PKA may be mediated by direct release of bound PKA catalytic subunits, triggered by the conformational changes occurring during transport of the substrate by the transceptor. Our results support a model in which nutrient transceptors are evolutionary ancestors of GPCRs, employing a more primitive direct signaling mechanism compared to the indirect cAMP second-messenger signaling mechanism used by GPCRs for activation of PKA.

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