The ellipsoidal shape of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the result of successive isotropic/apical growth switches that are regulated in a cell cycle-dependent manner. It is thought that growth polarity is governed by the remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton that is itself under the control of the cell cycle machinery. The cell cycle and the morphogenesis cycle are tightly coupled and it has been recently suggested that a morphogenesis/polarity checkpoint control monitors bud emergence in order to maintain the coupling of these two events (Lew, D. J., and S. I. Reed. 1995. J. Cell Biol. 129:739-749). During a screen based on the inability of cells impaired in the budding process to survive when the morphogenesis checkpoint control is abolished, we identified and characterized BED1, a new gene that is required for efficient budding. Cells carrying a disrupted allele of BED1 no longer have the wild-type ellipsoidal shape characteristic of S. cerevisiae, are larger than wild-type cells, are deficient in bud emergence, and depend upon an intact morphogenesis checkpoint control to survive. These cells show defects in polarized growth despite the fact that the actin cytoskeleton appears normal. Our results suggest that Bed1 is a type II membrane protein localized in the endoplasmic reticulum. BED1 is significantly homologous to gma12+, a S. pombe gene coding for an alpha-1,2,-galactosyltransferase, suggesting that glycosylation of specific proteins or lipids could be important for signaling in the switch to polarized growth and in bud emergence.

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