Overview

Baker's/brewer's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is a molecular genetic model organism. It is a eukaryote with a nucleus and membrane-bound organelles like mitochondria, peroxisomes, endoplasmic reticulum, and a Golgi complex. As such, complex processes like chromosome replication, transcription and translation, cell division, secretion, membrane trafficking, subcellular compartment structure and function, energy metabolism, cytoskeletal structure and mechanics, and intracellular signaling that are carried out by all eukaryotes can be explored in detail in an organism with a well-developed and simple-to-use genetic system. Saccharomyces is easy to culture and obtain in quantity, thus making it amenable to biochemical analysis. Gene manipulation techniques for Saccharomyces are extremely powerful. The major disadvantage of working with Saccharomyces is cell size, which makes cytological analysis difficult. Nevertheless, continued development of new microscopic techniques and analytical tools has improved the situation greatly. It is likely that the function of each of Saccharomyces'' 6000+ genes will soon be known making Saccharomyces a tool for in vivo testing of the function of genes derived from other organisms with less-well-developed genetic systems. Detailed protocols for many of the techniques described in Chapter 1 can be found in Section 13 of Current Protocols in Molecular Biology (Ausubel et al., 2001). Other excellent guides to yeast genetic methods are The Guide to Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology (Guthrie & Fink, 1991), Methods in Microbiology. Vol. 26: Yeast Gene Analysis (Brown & Tuite, 1998), and Methods in Yeast Genetics (Burke et al., 2000).

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