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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Evidence for cooperation between cells during sporulation of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Diploid Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells heterozygous for the mating type locus (MATa/MAT alpha) undergo meiosis and sporulation when starved for nitrogen in the presence of a poor carbon source such as potassium acetate. Diploid yeast adenine auxotrophs sporulated well at high cell density (10(7) cells per ml) under these conditions but failed to differentiate at low cell density (10(5) cells per ml). The conditional sporulation-deficient phenotype of adenine auxotrophs could be complemented by wild-type yeast cells, by medium from cultures that sporulate at high cell density, or by exogenously added adenine (or hypoxanthine with some mutants). Adenine and hypoxanthine in addition to guanine, adenosine, and numerous nucleotides were secreted into the medium, each in its unique temporal pattern, by sporulating auxotrophic and prototrophic yeast strains. The major source of these compounds was degradation of RNA. The data indicated that differentiating yeast cells cooperate during sporulation in maintaining sufficiently high concentrations of extracellular purines which are absolutely required for sporulation of adenine auxotrophs. Yeast prototrophs, which also sporulated less efficiently at low cell density (10(3) cells per ml), reutilized secreted purines in preference to de novo-made purine nucleotides whose synthesis was in fact inhibited during sporulation at high cell density. Adenine enhanced sporulation of yeast prototrophs at low cell density. The behavior of adenine auxotrophs bearing additional mutations in purine salvage pathway genes (ade apt1, ade aah1 apt1, ade hpt1) supports a model in which secretion of degradation products, uptake, and reutilization of these products is a signal between cells synchronizing the sporulation process.[1]


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