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Differences between S. cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe

SL Forsburg susan_forsburg at qm.salk.edu
Tue Mar 5 11:34:36 EST 1996

BBBBD wrote:
> I work with S. cerevisiae, and was curious as to the characteristics 
> of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Is Schizosaccharomyces pombe 
> pathogenic or can it cause opportunistic  infections.  What about
 > growth characteristics, or physical attributes. What about 
> industrial uses if any?
> Also, is there a good reference?

I'll bite.

S. pombe is one of the three (?) members of the genus 
Schizosaccharomyces, so called because the rod-shaped cells divide 
by medial fission; cells are about 10microns long and 3 in diameter.
To my knowledge there is no evidence that pombe is pathogenic or
infectious.  Various comparisons of genetic distance between
pombe and cerevisiae suggest that they are highly diverged from 
one another (the statement, as far from one another as either is
from us, has been used).  This makes comparisons between the two
yeasts very informative as to characteristics of general eukarotic
significance and characteristics that may be cell type specific.

In growth characteristics, pombe doubling time is around 2-3 hours
depending upon media and temperature.  The cells prefer to be
haploid and the diploid state is normally transient on the way 
to sporulation (yes, it is an ascomycete).  The cell cycle is
70% in G2.  I dont know if it is used much in industry but a priori,
it should be as useful as cerevisiae in several regards.  

pombe is very amenable to genetic analysis and the tricks of
molecular biology (transformation, disruption, expression).  Anyone
who works with cerevisiae could comfortably work with pombe although
at the beginning most people are frustrated that it doesnt 
ACT like cerevisaie (I know I was, when I switched).  But, it's a 
different organism, so you get used to it.  

Refs:  There is an Academic Press book, The Molecular Biology of
Fission yeast, ed Nasim, Young and Johnson (1989), with general 

 If you have web access, the following are sites with pombe info:

Hope this helps.

---susan, gone fission!

S L Forsburg                             
susan_forsburg at qm.salk.edu        
 "I don't speak for the Institute,         
 and the Institute doesnt speak for me."

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