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J Theor Biol. 2004 Dec 7;231(3):443-58.

Modeling the synchronization of yeast respiratory oscillations.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003-9303, USA.


The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae exhibits autonomous oscillations when grown aerobically in continuous culture with ethanol as the primary carbon source. A single cell model that includes the sulfate assimilation and ethanol degradation pathways recently has been developed to study these respiratory oscillations. We utilize an extended version of this single cell model to construct large cell ensembles for investigation of a proposed synchronization mechanism involving hydrogen sulfide. Ensembles with as many as 10,000 cells are used to simulate population synchronization and to compute transient number distributions from asynchronous initial cell states. Random perturbations in intracellular kinetic parameters are introduced to study the synchronization of single cells with small variations in their unsynchronized oscillation periods. The cell population model is shown to be consistent with available experimental data and to provide insights into the regulatory mechanisms responsible for the synchronization of yeast metabolic oscillations.

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