Schizosaccharomyces pombe (Sz. pombe), or fission yeast, is an ascomycete unicellular fungus that has been used as a model system for studying diverse biological processes of higher eukaryotic cells, such as the cell cycle and the maintenance of cell shape, apoptosis, and ageing. Sz. pombe is a rod-shaped cell that grows by apical extension; it divides along the long axis by medial fission and septation. The fission yeast has a doubling time of 2–4 hours, it is easy and inexpensive to grow in simple culture conditions, and can be maintained in the haploid or the diploid state. Sz. pombe can be genetically manipulated using methods such as mutagenesis or gene disruption by homologous recombination. Fission yeast was defined as a micro-mammal because it shares many molecular, genetic, and biochemical features with cells of higher eukaryotes in mRNA splicing, post-translational modifications as N-glycosylation protein, cell-cycle regulation, nutrient-sensing pathways as the target of rapamycin (TOR) network, cAMP-PKA pathway, and autophagy. This chapter uses Sz. pombe as a useful model for studying important cellular processes that support life such as autophagy, apoptosis, and the ageing process. Therefore, the molecular analysis of these processes in fission yeast has the potential to generate new knowledge that could be applied to higher eukaryotes.
Part of the book: Microbiology in Agriculture and Human Health