Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fission statement

21.02.2002


Alternative yeast joins genome party.


Budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae makes way for a new genome star.
© SPL



First there was budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). Partly responsible for scientists’ survival by fermenting their staples beer and bread, they polished off its DNA sequence back in 1997.

Now the minority fungus of lab culture - fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) - is fighting back. This week S. pombe enters the experimental big leagues, with the announcement of its completed genome1.


"For a while they could ignore us completely," says S. pombe supporter Paul Russell of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. "Now they can’t." With only one yeast genome, "you don’t get the full story", he argues.

The two yeasts may share a common name, but S. cerevisiae and S. pombe are only distant relatives, having diverged around a billion years ago. "They’ve gone their separate ways," says evolutionary biologist Russell Doolittle of the University of California, San Diego. As they have developed different ways to solve the basic problems of cell biology, there is still much to learn from the lesser cousin.

Whereas S. cerevisiae cells sprout offspring on their sides, S. pombe divides down the middle, like human cells. The genes and proteins that control this fundamental process in S. pombe were identified by Paul Nurse, the director general of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London. His feat won him a share of a 2001 Nobel Prize. What’s more, S. pombe rolls up its DNA into three large chromosomes, again more reminiscent of human cells than S. cerevisiae’s sixteen tiny ones.

Quality over quantity

S. pombe’s genome highlights the dissimilarity between the two yeasts. S. pombe has 4,824 genes - about 1,000 less than its cousin, and fewer even than some bacteria. This is evidence of quality over quantity, says Nurse, who led the sequencing effort.

Despite the yeasts’ differences, "it’s what they share that’s important", says Nurse. He hopes that comparing the two genomes will reveal exactly which parts are essential for yeast life.

Nurse’s team has already compared the S. pombe genome to another five completed ones - those of budding yeast, the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, the fruit fly (Drosophila), mustard weed (Arabidopsis thaliana) and humans - to find commonalities. All six organisms are ’eukaryotes’ - unlike bacteria, they package up their DNA and protein production into distinct compartments within the cell. The team identified a toolkit of some 60 genes that are essential for organizing and dividing eukaryotic cells.

Armed with the genome, S. pombe researchers hope to wade into its proteome, identifying all its proteins and how they interact. But once again, they’re playing catch-up - budding-yeast researchers are well on their way towards this goal.

Still, S. pombe scientists are used to struggling for recognition. And, despite a slow start and early rivalry, "no one would argue for only one yeast now", says Russell.

Scientists still harking after S. cervisiae’s brewing power may be won over by S. pombe’s potential. First described by Swiss researcher Lindner in 1893, he isolated it from East African millet beer - and named it after the Swahili word for beer, pombe.

References


  1. Wood, V. et al. The genome sequence of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Nature, 415, 871 - 880, (2002).


HELEN PEARSON | © Nature News Service

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>