Prions in yeast can allow better adaptation to changing conditions!
Thanks to David Garcia for his contribution!
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Prions can be deadly. They're misshapen proteins that cause a cascade of misfolding of similar proteins if they get into the nervous system, resulting in neurodegeneration in mammals. But in other organisms, they are not always so scary; some fungi use prions to regulate their behavior in varying conditions.
In this study, a prion allows yeast to switch between a fast-growing lifestyle with shorter reproductive lifespan that can be beneficial in conditions where nutrients are often plentiful, and a slower-growing but more enduring lifestyle that helps in more scarce conditions.
Garcia DM, Campbell EA, Jakobson CM, Tsuchiya M, Shaw EA, DiNardo AL, Kaeberlein M, Jarosz DF. 2021. A prion accelerates proliferation at the expense of lifespan. eLife 10:e60917.
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