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Cell cycle entry triggers a switch between two modes of Cdc42 activation during yeast polarization

  1. Kristen L Witte
  2. Devin Strickland
  3. Michael Glotzer  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Chicago, United States
Research Article
  • Cited 24
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Cite this article as: eLife 2017;6:e26722 doi: 10.7554/eLife.26722


Cell polarization underlies many cellular and organismal functions. The GTPase Cdc42 orchestrates polarization in many contexts. In budding yeast, polarization is associated with a focus of Cdc42•GTP which is thought to self sustain by recruiting a complex containing Cla4, a Cdc42-binding effector, Bem1, a scaffold, and Cdc24, a Cdc42 GEF. Using optogenetics, we probe yeast polarization and find that local recruitment of Cdc24 or Bem1 is sufficient to induce polarization by triggering self-sustaining Cdc42 activity. However, the response to these perturbations depends on the recruited molecule, the cell cycle stage, and existing polarization sites. Before cell cycle entry, recruitment of Cdc24, but not Bem1, induces a metastable pool of Cdc42 that is sustained by positive feedback. Upon Cdk1 activation, recruitment of either Cdc24 or Bem1 creates a stable site of polarization that induces budding and inhibits formation of competing sites. Local perturbations have therefore revealed unexpected features of polarity establishment.

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Author details

  1. Kristen L Witte

    Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Devin Strickland

    Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Michael Glotzer

    Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, United States
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-8723-7232


National Institute of General Medical Sciences (R01GM85087)

  • Michael Glotzer

American Cancer Society (119248-PF-10-134-01-CCG)

  • Devin Strickland

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (T32 GM007183)

  • Kristen L Witte

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Sheila McCormick, University of California-Berkeley, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: March 11, 2017
  2. Accepted: July 4, 2017
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: July 6, 2017 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: July 31, 2017 (version 2)


© 2017, Witte et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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