Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date



Sexual agglutinins of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae are proteins mediating cell aggregation during mating. Complementary agglutinins expressed by cells of opposite mating types “a” and “α” bind together to promote agglutination and facilitate fusion of haploid cells. By means of an innovative single-cell manipulation assay combining fluidic force microscopy with force spectroscopy, we unravel the strength of single specific bonds between a- and α-agglutinins (~100 pN) which require pheromone induction. Prolonged cell–cell contact strongly increases adhesion between mating cells, likely resulting from an increased expression of agglutinins. In addition, we highlight the critical role of disulfide bonds of the a- agglutinin and of histidine residue H273 of α-agglutinin. Most interestingly, we find that mechanical tension enhances the interaction strength, pointing to a model where physical stress induces conformational changes in the agglutinins, from a weak-binding folded state, to a strong-binding extended state. Our single-cell technology shows promises for under- standing and controlling the complex mechanism of yeast sexuality.


This work was originally published in Communications Biology, available at

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit licenses/by/4.0/.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.