Starvation of cells for specific nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate or sulphate causes arrest in the G phase of the cell cycle at a specific point called ‘start’. Re-addition of different nitrogen sources, phosphate or sulphate to such starved cells causes activation of trehalase within a few minutes. Nitrogen-source-and sulphate-induced activation of trehalase were not associated with any change in the cAMP level, but in the case of phosphate there was a small transient increase. When nitrogen-source-activated trehalase was isolated by immuno-affinity chromatography from crude extracts, the purified enzyme showed the same activity profile as in the original crude extracts, indicating that post-translational modification is responsible for the activation. In the yeast mutants and , which are temperature sensitive for cAMP synthesis, incubation at the restrictive temperature lowered but did not prevent nitrogen-, phosphate- or sulphate-induced activation of trehalase. Since under these conditions the cAMP level in the cells is very low, it is unlikely that cAMP acts as a second messenger in this nutrient-induced effect. Nitrogen-source-induced activation of trehalase requires the presence of glucose at a concentration similar to that able to stimulate the RAS-adenylate cyclase pathway. This indicates that the same glucose-sensing system might be involved in both phenomena. Nitrogen-starved cells fractionated according to cell size all showed nitrogen-source-induced activation of trehalase to the same extent, indicating that the nitrogen-induced signalling pathway involved is not dependent on the well-known cell size requirement for progression over the start point of the cell cycle.


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