Unconventional Cell Division Cycles from Marine-Derived Yeasts. uri icon


  • Fungi have been found in every marine habitat that has been explored; however, the diversity and functions of fungi in the ocean are poorly understood. In this study, fungi were cultured from the marine environment in the vicinity of Woods Hole, MA, USA, including from plankton, sponge, and coral. Our sampling resulted in 35 unique species across 20 genera. We observed many isolates by time-lapse, differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy and analyzed modes of growth and division. Several black yeasts displayed highly unconventional cell division cycles compared to those of traditional model yeast systems. Black yeasts have been found in habitats inhospitable to other life and are known for halotolerance, virulence, and stress resistance. We find that this group of yeasts also shows remarkable plasticity in terms of cell size control, modes of cell division, and cell polarity. Unexpected behaviors include division through a combination of fission and budding, production of multiple simultaneous buds, and cell division by sequential orthogonal septations. These marine-derived yeasts reveal alternative mechanisms for cell division cycles that seem likely to expand the repertoire of rules established from classic model system yeasts.

publication date

  • October 21, 2019