Apoptosis in yeast: a new model system with applications in cell biology and medicine

Curr Genet. 2002 Jul;41(4):208-16. doi: 10.1007/s00294-002-0310-2. Epub 2002 Jul 5.


Apoptosis is a highly coordinated cellular suicide program crucial for metazoan health and diseases. Although its increasing importance in cancer, neurodegenerative disorders and AIDS led to intense research and a better understanding of apoptosis, many details of its regulation or the apoptotic phenotypes are poorly understood. The complex regulatory network and the often contradictory results obtained with human cell lines made application of an easier model system desirable. Apoptosis in yeast promises to provide a better understanding of the genetics of apoptosis. During the past 2 years, scientists were successful in identifying new cell-death regulators of humans, plants and fungi using Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The finding of apoptotic phenotypes, even in protists, suggests that apoptosis developed in unicellular organisms long before the evolutionary separation between fungi, plants and metazoan animals occurred.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Apoptosis / genetics*
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Cell Cycle
  • Eukaryotic Cells / physiology
  • Forecasting
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Mutation
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / drug effects
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology
  • Schizosaccharomyces / cytology
  • Schizosaccharomyces / drug effects
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces / physiology
  • Yeasts / cytology*
  • Yeasts / genetics
  • Yeasts / physiology


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Hydrogen Peroxide