Karyogamy is the process where haploid nuclei fuse to form a diploid nucleus during yeast mating. We devised a novel genetic screen that identified five new karyogamy (KAR) genes and three new cell fusion (FUS) genes. The kar mutants fell into two classes that represent distinct events in the yeast karyogamy pathway. Class I mutations blocked congression of the nuclei due to cytoplasmic microtubule defects. In Class II mutants, nuclear congression proceeded and the membranes of apposed nuclei were closely aligned but unfused. In vitro, Class II mutant membranes were defective in a homotypic ER/nuclear membrane fusion assay. We propose that Class II mutants define components of a novel membrane fusion complex which functions during vegetative growth and is recruited for karyogamy.

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