The milk yeast Kluyveromyces lactis is an alternative model yeast to the well established Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The cell wall of these fungi consists of polysaccharides (i.e. long chains of ?-1,3- and ?-1,6-linked sugar chains and some chitin) and mannoproteins, both of which are continually adapted to environmental conditions in terms of their abundance and organization. This implies the need to perceive signals at the cell surface and to transform them into a proper cellular response. The signal transduction cascade involved in this process is generally referred to as the cell wall integrity (CWI) pathway. CWI signaling and cell wall composition have been extensively studied in the Baker's yeast S. cerevisiae and are also of interest in other yeast species with commercial potential, such as K. lactis. We here summarize the results obtained in the past years on CWI signaling in K. lactis and use a comparative approach to the findings obtained in S. cerevisiae to highlight special adaptations to their natural environments.
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