The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a eukaryotic microorganism that is able to choose between different unicellular and multicellular lifestyles. The potential of individual yeast cells to switch between different growth modes is advantageous for optimal dissemination, protection and substrate colonization at the population level. A crucial step in lifestyle adaptation is the control of self- and foreign adhesion. For this purpose, S. cerevisiae contains a set of cell wall-associated proteins, which confer adhesion to diverse biotic and abiotic surfaces. Here, we provide an overview of different aspects of S. cerevisiae adhesion, including a detailed description of known lifestyles, recent insights into adhesin structure and function and an outline of the complex regulatory network for adhesin gene regulation. Our review shows that S. cerevisiae is a model system suitable for studying not only the mechanisms and regulation of cell adhesion, but also the role of this process in microbial development, ecology and evolution.
© 2011 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.