Aging and longevity of yeast colony populations: metabolic adaptation and differentiation

Biochem Soc Trans. 2011 Oct;39(5):1471-5. doi: 10.1042/BST0391471.


Yeast multicellular colonies possess several traits that are absent from individual yeasts. These include the ability to synchronize colony population development and adapt its metabolism to different environmental changes, such as nutrient depletion. This, together with cell diversification to cell variants with distinct metabolic and other properties, contributes to the main goal of the colony population: to achieve longevity. In this respect, a benefit to individual cells is subordinated to the benefit to the whole population, exhibiting a kind of altruistic behaviour. For example, some colony cells located at particular positions undergo regulated cell dying and provide components to other cells located in more propitious areas. The enhancement of techniques that enable the in vivo investigation of three-dimensional spatiotemporal colony development may lead to new discoveries on metabolic differentiation and regulation in the near future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Death
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Longevity / physiology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology*