Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center1100 Fairview Ave. N., Room A2-159Mail Stop A2-168Seattle, WA 98109
Most of the cell cycle work done in yeast over the last decade has involved studying the cell cycle in rapidly growing cells with abundant nutrients. We have begun to investigate a far more common transition, which is the transition between mitotic growth and quiescence. The need to control proliferation and maintain a protective, reversible quiescent state is universal. Multi-cellular organisms depend on the persistence and genetic stability of quiescent stem cells for their controlled growth, development and tissue renewal. Unscheduled exit, or failure to enter the quiescent state results in uncontrolled proliferation and cancer. However, studying quiescent cells embedded in complex tissues is a slow and difficult process. We are using the simple model organism, budding yeast, to identify the basic cellular activities that define the quiescent state and that enable cells to enter and maintain that state. Our expectation is that many of these activities will be conserved in higher cells, just as the basic framework of the cell division cycle is conserved. We are using a combination of genetics and genomics to identify factors that control entry and maintenance of the quiescent state of budding yeast. Our strategy allows us to minimize environmental influences that are known to influence longevity (e.g. caloric restriction) and identify the intrinsic cellular activities that protect and maintain cells in the quiescent state.
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Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center | University of Washington
Institute for Systems Biology | Seattle Biomed