Dynamics of cell wall structure in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

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Abstract

The cell wall of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an elastic structure that provides osmotic and physical protection and determines the shape of the cell. The inner layer of the wall is largely responsible for the mechanical strength of the wall and also provides the attachment sites for the proteins that form the outer layer of the wall. Here we find among others the sexual agglutinins and the flocculins. The outer protein layer also limits the permeability of the cell wall, thus shielding the plasma membrane from attack by foreign enzymes and membrane-perturbing compounds. The main features of the molecular organization of the yeast cell wall are now known. Importantly, the molecular composition and organization of the cell wall may vary considerably. For example, the incorporation of many cell wall proteins is temporally and spatially controlled and depends strongly on environmental conditions. Similarly, the formation of specific cell wall protein–polysaccharide complexes is strongly affected by external conditions. This points to a tight regulation of cell wall construction. Indeed, all five mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways in bakers’ yeast affect the cell wall, and additional cell wall-related signaling routes have been identified. Finally, some potential targets for new antifungal compounds related to cell wall construction are discussed.

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