Acetaldehyde mediates the synchronization of sustained glycolytic oscillations in populations of yeast cells

Peter Richard, Barbara M. Bakker, Bas Teusink, Karel Van Dam, Hans V. Westerhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

153 Citations (Scopus)


In the presence of cyanide, populations of yeast cells can exhibit sustained oscillations in the concentration of glycolytic metabolites, NADH and ATP. This study attempts to answer the long-standing question of whether and how oscillations of individual cells are synchronized. It shows that mixing two cell populations that oscillate 180° out of phase only transiently abolishes the macroscopic oscillation. After a few minutes, NADH fluorescence of the mixed population resumes oscillations up to the original amplitude. At low cell densities, addition of acetaldehyde causes transient oscillations. At higher cell densities, where the oscillations are autonomous, 70 μM acetaldehyde causes phase shifts. Extracellular acetaldehyde is shown to oscillate around the 70 μM level. We conclude that acetaldehyde synchronizes the oscillations of the individual cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-241
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996
MoE publication typeNot Eligible



  • cell-cell communication
  • control
  • dynamics
  • self-organization
  • signalling

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