Magnificent seven: roles of G protein-coupled receptors in extracellular sensing in fungi

Authors

  • Chaoyang Xue,

    1. Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
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  • Yen-Ping Hsueh,

    1. Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
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  • Joseph Heitman

    1. Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
    2. Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
    3. Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
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  • Editor: Lee Kroos

Correspondence: Joseph Heitman, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA. Tel.: +1 919 684 2824; fax: +1 919 684 5458; e-mail: heitm001@duke.edu

Abstract

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) represent the largest family of transmembrane receptors and are responsible for transducing extracellular signals into intracellular responses that involve complex intracellular-signaling networks. This review highlights recent research advances in fungal GPCRs, including classification, extracellular sensing, and G protein-signaling regulation. The involvement of GPCRs in pheromone and nutrient sensing has been studied extensively over the past decade. Following recent advances in fungal genome sequencing projects, a panoply of GPCR candidates has been revealed and some have been documented to play key roles sensing diverse extracellular signals, such as pheromones, sugars, amino acids, nitrogen sources, and even photons. Identification and deorphanization of additional putative GPCRs may require the development of new research tools. Here, we compare research on GPCRs in fungi with information derived from mammalian systems to provide a useful road map on how to better understand ligand–GPCR–G protein interactions in general. We also emphasize the utility of yeast as a discovery tool for systemic studies of GPCRs from other organisms.

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