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Section: New Results

The cost of cellular adaptation to stress: tradeoff between short-term and long-term adaptation to osmotic stress in yeast

Participants : Grégory Batt, Ewen Corre, Pascal Hersen, Artémis Llamosi.

Upon stress, cells have evolved complex adaptation strategies to environmental variations which include sensing, information processing and modification of metabolic and transcriptional activity. The reaction of yeast cells to hyperosmotic stress spans several timescales and includes massive gene-expression changes, bio-compatible osmolyte production, and direct action on the cell cycle. Despite a detailed knowledge of molecular events, the impact of stress-response on cellular resources is poorly known. In particular, strong and fast adaptation which alter proliferation in the short term while conferring advantage on the long term are important drivers of stress-response evolution.

In this study, we use microfluidics to vary dynamically both the source of cost (osmotic stress) and the available metabolic resources (glucose) while monitoring cellular proliferation. We show that, under hyper-osmotic stress, metabolic resources are rerouted towards the production of glycerol through activation of an essential enzyme in glycerol production. This reveals the nature of the burden imposed by osmotic stress and, more generally, allows us to better understand the evolutionary tradeoffs between stress response and proliferation.