Interactions between yeast and bacteria lead to prion induction and stuck fermentations

Really glad we were finally able to get this paper out. Keep any eye out for a follow up paper about the fermentation performance of [GAR+] cells.

Cross-Kingdom Chemical Communication Drives a Heritable, Mutually Beneficial Prion-Based Transformation of Metabolism

Daniel F. Jarosz11, Jessica C.S. Brown1112, Gordon A. Walker, Manoshi S. Datta, W. Lloyd Ung, Alex K. Lancaster, Assaf Rotem, Amelia Chang13, Gregory A. Newby, David A. Weitz, Linda F. Bisson, Susan Lindquist

In experimental science, organisms are usually studied in isolation, but in the wild, they compete and cooperate in complex communities. We report a system for cross-kingdom communication by which bacteria heritably transform yeast metabolism. An ancient biological circuit blocks yeast from using other carbon sources in the presence of glucose. [GAR+], a protein-based epigenetic element, allows yeast to circumvent this “glucose repression” and use multiple carbon sources in the presence of glucose. Some bacteria secrete a chemical factor that induces [GAR+]. [GAR+] is advantageous to bacteria because yeast cells make less ethanol and is advantageous to yeast because their growth and long-term viability is improved in complex carbon sources. This cross-kingdom communication is broadly conserved, providing a compelling argument for its adaptive value. By heritably transforming growth and survival strategies in response to the selective pressures of life in a biological community, [GAR+] presents a unique example of Lamarckian inheritance.

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