Haploid yeast cells initiate pheromone signaling upon the binding of pheromone to its receptor and activation of the coupled G protein. A regulatory process termed receptor inhibition blocks pheromone signaling when the a-factor receptor is inappropriately expressed in MATa cells. Receptor inhibition blocks signaling by inhibiting the activity of the G protein β subunit, Ste4p. To investigate how Ste4p activity is inhibited, its subcellular location was examined. In wild-type cells, α-factor treatment resulted in localization of Ste4p to the plasma membrane of mating projections. In cells expressing the a-factor receptor, α-factor treatment resulted in localization of Ste4p away from the plasma membrane to an internal compartment. An altered version of Ste4p that is largely insensitive to receptor inhibition retained its association with the membrane in cells expressing the a-factor receptor. The inhibitory function of the a-factor receptor required ASG7, an a-specific gene of previously unknown function. ASG7 RNA was induced by pheromone, consistent with increased inhibition as the pheromone response progresses. The a-factor receptor inhibited signaling in its liganded state, demonstrating that the receptor can block the signal that it initiates. ASG7 was required for the altered localization of Ste4p that occurs during receptor inhibition, and the subcellular location of Asg7p was consistent with its having a direct effect on Ste4p localization. These results demonstrate that Asg7p mediates a regulatory process that blocks signaling from a G protein β subunit and causes its relocalization within the cell.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology