Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a unicellular eukaryal microorganism that has traditionally been regarded either as a model system for investigating cellular physiology or as a cell factory for biotechnological use, for example for the production of fuels and commodity chemicals such as lactate or pharmaceuticals, including human insulin and HPV vaccines. Systems biology has recently gained momentum and has successfully been used for mapping complex regulatory networks and resolving the dynamics of signal transduction pathways. So far, yeast systems biology has mainly focused on the development of new methods and concepts. There are also some examples of the application of yeast systems biology for improving biotechnological processes. We discuss here how yeast systems biology could be used in elucidating fundamental cellular principles such as those relevant for the study of molecular mechanisms underlying complex human diseases, including the metabolic syndrome and ageing.
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