Current Genetics

, Volume 65, Issue 5, pp 1107–1111 | Cite as

The evolution of peptide mating pheromones in fission yeast

  • Taisuke SeikeEmail author


In fungi, sexual reproduction primarily depends on the interaction between peptide pheromones and their receptors. Most ascomycete fungi produce two classes of peptide mating pheromones, a simple peptide and a modified peptide. These peptides are recognized by their corresponding receptors on the surface of cells of the opposite mating type to induce the mating reaction. Pheromone diversification may be associated with reproductive isolation, which restricts gene flow among populations; thus, it remains unclear how pheromones diversify without loss of successful mating. Here, I provide a brief review of recent findings on the ‘asymmetric’ diversification of peptide pheromones in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, and discuss evolution of the mating pheromones in fission yeast.


Peptide pheromone Fission yeast G-protein coupled receptor Reproductive isolation Evolution 



This work was supported by Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Research Fellow (Grant Number JP15J03416) to T.S., Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (Grant Number JP17K15181) to T.S., the Sumitomo Foundation (No. 160924) to T.S., and Dr. Yoshifumi Jigami Memorial Fund, The Society of Yeast Scientists to T.S.


  1. Barr MM, Tu H, Van Aelst L, Wigler M (1996) Identification of Ste4 as a potential regulator of Byr2 in the sexual response pathway of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Mol Cell Biol. Google Scholar
  2. Burkholder AC, Hartwell LH (1985) The yeast α-factor receptor: structural properties deduced from the sequence of the STE2 gene. Nucleic Acids Res. Google Scholar
  3. Christensen PU, Davey J, Nielsen O (1997) The Schizosaccharomyces pombe mam1 gene encodes an ABC transporter mediating secretion of M-factor. Mol Gen Genet. Google Scholar
  4. Clarke S (1992) Protein isoprenylation and methylation at carboxy-terminal cysteine residues. Annu Rev Biochem. Google Scholar
  5. Davey J (1991) Isolation and quantitation of M-factor, a diffusible mating factor from the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Yeast. Google Scholar
  6. Davey J (1992) Mating pheromones of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe: purification and structural characterization of M-factor and isolation and analysis of two genes encoding the pheromone. EMBO J. Google Scholar
  7. Davey J, Davis K, Imai Y et al (1994) Isolation and characterization of krp, a dibasic endopeptidase required for cell viability in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. EMBO J 13:5910–5921CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fawcett JA, Iida T, Takuno S et al (2014) Population genomics of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. PLoS ONE. Google Scholar
  9. Fraser J, Hsueh Y, Findley K, Heitman J (2008) Sex in fungi: molecular determination and evolutionary implications. In: Sex in fungi: molecular determination and evolutionary implications. ASM Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  10. Gonçalves-Sá J, Murray A (2011) Asymmetry in sexual pheromones is not required for ascomycete mating. Curr Biol 21:1337–1346. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hagen DC, McCaffrey G, Sprague GF (1986) Evidence the yeast STE3 gene encodes a receptor for the peptide pheromone a factor: gene sequence and implications for the structure of the presumed receptor. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. Google Scholar
  12. Harari Y, Ram Y, Kupiec M (2018) Frequent ploidy changes in growing yeast cultures. Curr Genet 64:1001–1004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Herskowitz I (1988) Life cycle of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Microbiol Rev 52:536–553Google Scholar
  14. Imai Y, Yamamoto M (1994) The fission yeast mating pheromone P-factor: its molecular structure, gene structure, and ability to induce gene expression and G1 arrest in the mating partner. Genes Dev 8:328–338. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Imai Y, Davey J, Kawagishi-Kobayashi M, Yamamoto M (1997) Genes encoding farnesyl cysteine carboxyl methyltransferase in Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Xenopus laevis. Mol Cell Biol. Google Scholar
  16. Kim HK, Lee T, Yun SH (2008) A putative pheromone signaling pathway is dispensable for self-fertility in the homothallic ascomycete Gibberella zeae. Fungal Genet Biol. Google Scholar
  17. Kitamura K, Shimoda C (1991) The Schizosaccharomyces pombe mam2 gene encodes a putative pheromone receptor which has a significant homology with the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Ste2 protein. EMBO J. Google Scholar
  18. Kjaerulff S, Davey J, Nielsen O (1994) Analysis of the structural genes encoding M-factor in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe: identification of a third gene, mfm3. Mol Cell Biol. Google Scholar
  19. Kurjan J (1993) The pheromone response pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Annu Rev Genet 27:147–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kurjan J, Herskowitz I (1982) Structure of a yeast pheromone gene (MFα): a putative α-factor precursor contains four tandem copies of mature α-factor. Cell. Google Scholar
  21. Ladds G, Davis K, Das A, Davey J (2005) A constitutively active GPCR retains its G protein specificity and the ability to form dimers. Mol Microbiol. Google Scholar
  22. Lee J, Leslie JF, Bowden RL (2008) Expression and function of sex pheromones and receptors in the homothallic ascomycete Gibberella zeae. Eukaryot Cell. Google Scholar
  23. Leupold U, Hottinguer H (1950) Die von Homothallie und Heterothallie bei Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Heredity (Edinb)Google Scholar
  24. Martin SH, Wingfield BD, Wingfield MJ, Steenkamp ET (2011) Causes and consequences of variability in peptide mating pheromones of ascomycete fungi. Mol Biol Evol 28:1987–2003. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mayrhofer S, Weber JM, Pöggeler S (2006) Pheromones and pheromone receptors are required for proper sexual development in the homothallic ascomycete Sordaria macrospora. Genetics. Google Scholar
  26. Michaelis S, Barrowman J (2012) Biogenesis of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae pheromone a-factor, from yeast mating to human disease. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 76:626–651. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Moretto F, van Werven FJ (2017) Transcription of the mating-type-regulated lncRNA IRT1 is governed by TORC1 and PKA. Curr Genet. Google Scholar
  28. Mourier T, Lau W, Chessel A et al (2015) The genomic and phenotypic diversity of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Nat Genet 47:235–241. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Naider F, Becker JM (2004) The α-factor mating pheromone of Saccharomyces cerevisiae: a model for studying the interaction of peptide hormones and G protein-coupled receptors. Peptides 25:1441–1463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nakayama N, Miyajima A, Arai K (1985) Nucleotide sequences of STE2 and STE3, cell type-specific sterile genes from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. EMBO J. Google Scholar
  31. Obara T, Nakafuku M, Yamamoto M, Kaziro Y (1991) Isolation and characterization of a gene encoding a G-protein alpha subunit from Schizosaccharomyces pombe: involvement in mating and sporulation pathways. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. Google Scholar
  32. Pataki E, Weisman R, Sipiczki M, Miklos I (2017) fhl1 gene of the fission yeast regulates transcription of meiotic genes and nitrogen starvation response, downstream of the TORC1 pathway. Curr Genet. Google Scholar
  33. Rogers DW, Denton JA, McConnell E, Greig D (2015) Experimental evolution of species recognition. Curr Biol 25:1753–1758. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Seike T, Yamagishi Y, Iio H et al (2012) Remarkably simple sequence requirement of the M-factor pheromone of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Genetics 191:815–825. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Seike T, Nakamura T, Shimoda C (2015) Molecular coevolution of a sex pheromone and its receptor triggers reproductive isolation in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112:4405–4410. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Seike T, Shimoda C, Niki H (2019) Asymmetric diversification of mating pheromones in fission yeast. PLoS Biol 17:e3000101. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tanaka K, Davey J, Imai Y, Yamamoto M (1993) Schizosaccharomyces pombe map3+ encodes the putative M-factor receptor. Mol Cell Biol. Google Scholar
  38. Wang S-H, Xue C-B, Nielsen O et al (1994) Chemical synthesis of the M-factor mating pheromone from Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Yeast. Google Scholar
  39. Xue-Franzén Y, Kjærulff S, Holmberg C et al (2006) Genomewide identification of pheromone-targeted transcription in fission yeast. BMC Genomics 7:1–18. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Young SK, Robbertse B, Margalit H et al (2011) Comparative functional genomics of the fission yeasts. Science (80-) 332:930–936. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Biosystems Dynamics ResearchRIKENOsakaJapan

Personalised recommendations