Yeast are eukaryotic unicellular organisms that are easy to cultivate and offer a wide spectrum of genetic and cytological tools for research. Yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe have successfully been used as models for human cell division cycle. Stress conditions, cellular ageing, failed mating, certain mutations or heterologous expression of proapoptotic genes induce yeast cell death with the characteristic markers of apoptosis. Several crucial regulators of apoptosis are conserved between metazoans and yeast. This simple model organism offers the possibility to identify conserved and new components of the apoptotic machinery and to elucidate the regulatory pathways beyond.
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