Anatomical analysis of saccharomyces cerevisiae stalk-like structures reveals spatial organization and cell specialization

R. Scherz, V. Shinder, D. Engelberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Recently we reported an unusual multicellular organization in yeast that we termed stalk-like structures. These structures are tall (0.5 to 3 cm long) and narrow (1 to 3 mm in diameter). They are formed in response to UV radiation of cultures spread on high agar concentrations. Here we present an anatomical analysis of the stalks. Microscopic inspection of cross sections taken from stalks revealed that stalks are composed of an inner core in which cells are dense and vital and a layer of cells (four to six rows) that surrounds the core. This outer layer is physically separated from the core and contains many dead cells. The outer layer may form a protective shell for the core cells. Through electron microscopy analysis we observed three types of cells within the stalk population: (i) cells containing many unusual vesicles, which might be undergoing some kind of cell death; (ii) cells containing spores (usually one or two spores only); and (iii) familiar rounded cells. We suggest that stalk cells are not only spatially organized but may undergo processes that induce a certain degree of cell specialization. We also show that high agar concentration alone, although not sufficient to induce stalk formation, induces dramatic changes in a colony's morphology. Most striking among the agar effects is the induction of growth into the agar, forming peg-like structures. Colonies grown on 4% agar or higher are reminiscent of stalks in some aspects. The agar concentration effects are mediated in part by the Ras pathway and are related to the invasive-growth phenomenon.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)5402-5413
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number18
StatePublished - 2001


Dive into the research topics of 'Anatomical analysis of saccharomyces cerevisiae stalk-like structures reveals spatial organization and cell specialization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this