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Reorganization of budding yeast cytoplasm upon energy depletion


  • Marini G.,
  • Nüske E.,
  • Leng W.,
  • Alberti S.,
  • Pigino G.


Yeast cells, when exposed to stress, can enter a protective state in which cell division, growth, and metabolism are down-regulated. They remain viable in this state until nutrients become available again. How cells enter this protective survival state and what happens at a cellular and subcellular level are largely unknown. In this study, we used electron tomography to investigate stress-induced ultrastructural changes in the cytoplasm of yeast cells. After ATP depletion, we observed significant cytosolic compaction and extensive cytoplasmic reorganization, as well as the emergence of distinct membrane-bound and membraneless organelles. Using correlative light and electron microscopy, we further demonstrated that one of these membraneless organelles was generated by the reversible polymerization of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2B, an essential enzyme in the initiation of protein synthesis, into large bundles of filaments. The changes we observe are part of a stress-induced survival strategy, allowing yeast cells to save energy, protect proteins from degradation, and inhibit protein functionality by forming assemblies of proteins.

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