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PLoS One. 2013 Oct 22;8(10):e78545. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0078545. eCollection 2013.

Klf1, a C2H2 zinc finger-transcription factor, is required for cell wall maintenance during long-term quiescence in differentiated G0 phase.

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G0 Cell Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), Onna, Okinawa, Japan.


Fission yeast, Schizoaccharomyces pombe, is a model for studying cellular quiescence. Shifting to a medium that lacks a nitrogen-source induces proliferative cells to enter long-term G0 quiescence. Klf1 is a Krüppel-like transcription factor with a 7-amino acid Cys2His2-type zinc finger motif. The deletion mutant, ∆klf1, normally divides in vegetative medium, but proliferation is not restored after long-term G0 quiescence. Cell biologic, transcriptomic, and metabolomic analyses revealed a unique phenotype of the ∆klf1 mutant in quiescence. Mutant cells had diminished transcripts related to signaling molecules for switching to differentiation; however, proliferative metabolites for cell-wall assembly and antioxidants had significantly increased. Further, the size of ∆klf1 cells increased markedly during quiescence due to the aberrant accumulation of Calcofluor-positive, chitin-like materials beneath the cell wall. After 4 weeks of quiescence, reversible proliferation ability was lost, but metabolism was maintained. Klf1 thus plays a role in G0 phase longevity by enhancing the differentiation signal and suppressing metabolism for growth. If Klf1 is lost, S. pombe fails to maintain a constant cell size and normal cell morphology during quiescence.

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