E 3 - Hans-Ulrich Mösch

Surface contact and adhesion induced responses in yeast








Prof. Dr. Hans-Ulrich Mösch

Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Biology   

Karl-von-Frisch-Straße 8, 35043 Marburg

+49 - 6421 - 2823013




Research summary:

Yeasts represent a group of about 1'500 taxonomically and phylogenetically unrelated fungi that by definition are able to vegetatively grow as unicellular organisms. In response to surface contact, many yeasts can switch their lifestyle and proliferate in multicellular growth forms. In this project, we aim at understanding how in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae adhesion to solid surfaces triggers the formation of biofilms. By performing comparative transcriptional profiling, we have identified a number of genes that are responsive to plastic surface contact. We further found that expression of some of these genes is affected by the cell wall protein Flo11, which in S. cerevisiae confers biofilm and flor formation as well as adhesion to plastic surfaces. The latter indicates that cell-surface adhesion might be a prerequisite for certain contact responses, e.g. by reinforcing mechanical stress on the cell wall. We therefore want to test the hypothesis that cell-surface adhesion triggers cell wall stress and responses, which are mediated by members of the membrane-spanning cell wall integrity sensor family. Based on our recently solved Flo11 structure, we will also investigate the structural and functional diversity of Flo11-type adhesins from different yeasts and try to determine, whether during evolution this cell surface protein has been adapted to recognize different surfaces and might play a role in cellular self-nonself discrimination.