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FEMS Yeast Res. 2014 Feb;14(1):89-95. doi: 10.1111/1567-1364.12119. Epub 2013 Nov 26.

Actin - a biosensor that determines cell fate in yeasts.

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Kent Fungal Group, School of Biosciences, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, UK.


The decision to proliferate, to activate stress response mechanisms or to initiate cell death lies at the heart of the maintenance of a healthy cell population. Within multicellular and colony-forming single-celled organisms, such as yeasts, the functionality of cellular compartments that connect signalling to cell fate must be maintained to maximise adaptability and survival. The actin cytoskeleton is involved in processes such as the regulation of membrane microcompartments, receptor internalisation and the control of master regulatory GTPases, which govern cell decision-making. This affords the actin cytoskeleton a central position within cell response networks. In this sense, a functional actin cytoskeleton is essential to efficiently connect information input to response at the level of the cell. Recent research from fungal, plant and mammalian cells systems has highlighted that actin can trigger apoptotic death in cells that become incompetent to respond to environmental cues. It may also be the case that this property has been appropriated by microorganisms competing for niche environments within a human host. Here, we discuss the research that has been carried out in yeast that links actin to signalling processes and cell fate that supports its role as a biosensor.


actin; apoptosis; mitochondria; signalling; stress response; yeast

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