Prions in yeast can allow better adaptation to changing conditions!
Thanks to David Garcia for his contribution!
Microbe of the episode
Microbe of the episode: Hepatovirus F
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.
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