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The sixth transmembrane region of a pheromone G-protein coupled receptor, Map3, is implicated in ...

The sixth transmembrane region of a pheromone G-protein coupled receptor, Map3, is implicated in discrimination of closely related pheromones in Schizosaccharomyces pombe

Most sexually reproducing organisms have the ability to recognize individuals of the same species. In ascomycete fungi including yeasts, mating between cells of opposite mating type depends on the molecular recognition of two peptidyl mating pheromones by their corresponding G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Although such pheromone/receptor systems are likely to function in both mate choice and prezygotic isolation, very few studies have focused on the stringency of pheromone receptors. The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe has two mating types, Plus (P) and Minus (M). Here, we investigated the stringency of the two GPCRs, Mam2 and Map3, for their respective pheromones, P-factor and M-factor, in fission yeast. First, we switched GPCRs between S. pombe and the closely related species Schizosaccharomyces octosporus, which showed that SoMam2 (Mam2 of S. octosporus) is partially functional in S. pombe, whereas SoMap3 (Map3 of S. octosporus) is not interchangeable. Next, we swapped individual domains of Mam2 and Map3 with the respective domains in SoMam2 and SoMap3, which revealed differences between the receptors both in the intracellular regions that regulate the downstream signaling of pheromones and in the activation by the pheromone. In particular, we demonstrated that two amino acid residues of Map3, F214 and F215, are key residues important for discrimination of closely related M-factors. Thus, the differences in these two GPCRs might reflect the significantly distinct stringency/flexibility of their respective pheromone/receptor systems; nevertheless, species-specific pheromone recognition remains incomplete.

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