In experimental science, organisms are usually studied in isolation, but in the wild, they compete and cooperate in complex communities. We report a system for cross-kingdom communication by which bacteria heritably transform yeast metabolism. An ancient biological circuit blocks yeast from using other carbon sources in the presence of glucose. [GAR+], a protein-based epigenetic element, allows yeast to circumvent this “glucose repression” and use multiple carbon sources in the presence of glucose. Some bacteria secrete a chemical factor that induces [GAR+]. [GAR+] is advantageous to bacteria because yeast cells make less ethanol and is advantageous to yeast because their growth and long-term viability is improved in complex carbon sources. This cross-kingdom communication is broadly conserved, providing a compelling argument for its adaptive value. By heritably transforming growth and survival strategies in response to the selective pressures of life in a biological community, [GAR+] presents a unique example of Lamarckian inheritance.
- Cross-kingdom chemical communication drives heritable changes in yeast metabolism
- Metabolic switch confers strong growth advantages to yeast and bacteria alike
- Droplet microfluidics enables single-cell study of microbial interactions
- This interaction transforms the dynamics of fermentations
Jarosz DF, Brown JCS, Walker GA, Datta MS, Ung LW, Lancaster AK, et al. (2014) Cross-kingdom chemical communication drives a heritable, mutually beneficial prion-based transformation of metabolism. Cell.158(5):1083–93. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2014.07.025