A modeling study of budding yeast colony formation and its relationship to budding pattern and aging

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1005843
Journal / PublicationPLoS Computational Biology
Issue number11
Online published9 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017



Budding yeast, which undergoes polarized growth during budding and mating, has been a useful model system to study cell polarization. Bud sites are selected differently in haploid and diploid yeast cells: haploid cells bud in an axial manner, while diploid cells bud in a bipolar manner. While previous studies have been focused on the molecular details of the bud site selection and polarity establishment, not much is known about how different budding patterns give rise to different functions at the population level. In this paper, we develop a two-dimensional agent-based model to study budding yeast colonies with cell-type specific biological processes, such as budding, mating, mating type switch, consumption of nutrients, and cell death. The model demonstrates that the axial budding pattern enhances mating probability at an early stage and the bipolar budding pattern improves colony development under nutrient limitation. Our results suggest that the frequency of mating type switch might control the trade-off between diploidization and inbreeding. The effect of cellular aging is also studied through our model. Based on the simulations, colonies initiated by an aged haploid cell show declined mating probability at an early stage and recover as the rejuvenated offsprings become the majority. Colonies initiated with aged diploid cells do not show disadvantage in colony expansion possibly due to the fact that young cells contribute the most to colony expansion.

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