Unequal division in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae and its implications for the control of cell division

Leland H. Hartwell, Michael W. Unger

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The budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, was grown exponentially at different rates in the presence of growth rate-limiting concentrations of a protein synthesis inhibitor, cycloheximide. The volumes of the parent cell and the bud were determined as were the intervals of the cell cycle devoted to the unbudded and budded periods. We found that S. cerevisiae cells divide unequally. The daughter cell (the cell produced at division by the bud of the previous cycle) is smaller and has a longer subsequent cell cycle than the parent cell which produced it. During the budded period most of the volume increase occurs in the bud and very little in the parent cell, while during the unbudded period both the daughter and the parent cell increase significantly in volume. The length of the budded interval of the cell cycle varies little as a function of population doubling time; the unbudded interval of the parent cell varies moderately ; and the unbudded interval for the daughter cell varies greatly (in the latter case an increase of 100 min in population doubling time results in an increase of 124 min in the daughter cell’s unbudded interval). All of the increase in the unbudded period occurs in that interval of G1 that precedes the point of cell cycle arrest by the S. cerevisiae a- mating factor. These results are qualitatively consistent with and support the model for the coordination of growth and division (Johnston, G. C., J. R. Pringle, and L. H. Hartwell. 1977. Exp. Cell. Res. 105:79-98.) This model states that growth and not the events of the DNA division cycle are rate limiting for cellular proliferation and that the attainment of a critical cell size is a necessary prerequisite for the "start" event in the DNA-division cycle, the event that requires the cdc 28 gene product, is inhibited by mating factor and results in duplication of the spindle pole body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-435
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 1977


  • Division kinetics ·
  • G1 control ·
  • Growth control
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae ·
  • Unequal division ·
  • Yeast ·

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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