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Curr Genet. 2019 Jan 21. doi: 10.1007/s00294-019-00938-2. [Epub ahead of print]

On the duration of the microbial lag phase.

Author information

1
VIB Laboratory for Systems Biology, VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology, Gaston Geenslaan 1, 3001, Leuven, Belgium.
2
CMPG Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics, Department M2S, KU Leuven, Gaston Geenslaan 1, 3001, Leuven, Belgium.
3
Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, Ghent University, Technologiepark 927, 9052, Ghent, Belgium.
4
VIB Center for Plant Systems Biology, Technologiepark 927, 9052, Ghent, Belgium.
5
VIB Laboratory for Systems Biology, VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology, Gaston Geenslaan 1, 3001, Leuven, Belgium. kevin.verstrepen@kuleuven.vib.be.
6
CMPG Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics, Department M2S, KU Leuven, Gaston Geenslaan 1, 3001, Leuven, Belgium. kevin.verstrepen@kuleuven.vib.be.

Abstract

When faced with environmental changes, microbes enter a lag phase during which cell growth is arrested, allowing cells to adapt to the new situation. The discovery of the lag phase started the field of gene regulation and led to the unraveling of underlying mechanisms. However, the factors determining the exact duration and dynamics of the lag phase remain largely elusive. Naively, one would expect that cells adapt as quickly as possible, so they can resume growth and compete with other organisms. However, recent studies show that the lag phase can last from several hours up to several days. Moreover, some cells within the same population take much longer than others, despite being genetically identical. In addition, the lag phase duration is also influenced by the past, with recent exposure to a given environment leading to a quicker adaptation when that environment returns. Genome-wide screens in Saccharomyces cerevisiae on carbon source shifts now suggest that the length of the lag phase, the heterogeneity in lag times of individual cells, and the history-dependent behavior are not determined by the time it takes to induce a few specific genes related to uptake and metabolism of a new carbon source. Instead, a major shift in general metabolism, and in particular a switch between fermentation and respiration, is the major bottleneck that determines lag duration. This suggests that there may be a fitness trade-off between complete adaptation of a cell's metabolism to a given environment, and a short lag phase when the environment changes.

KEYWORDS:

Cellular memory; Crabtree effect; Fermentation–respiration; Gene regulation; Lag phase; Saccharomyces cerevisiae

PMID:
30666394
DOI:
10.1007/s00294-019-00938-2

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