Although yeast are unicellular and comparatively simple organisms, they have a sense of time which is not related to reproduction cycles. The glycolytic pathway exhibits oscillatory behaviour, i.e. the metabolite concentrations oscillate around phosphofructokinase. The frequency of these oscillations is about 1 min when using intact cells. Also a yeast cell extract can oscillate, though with a lower frequency. With intact cells the macroscopic oscillations can only be observed when most of the cells oscillate in concert. Transient oscillations can be observed upon simultaneous induction; sustained oscillations require an active synchronisation mechanism. Such an active synchronisation mechanism, which involves acetaldehyde as a signalling compound, operates under certain conditions. How common these oscillations are in the absence of a synchronisation mechanism is an open question. Under aerobic conditions an oscillatory metabolism can also be observed, but with a much lower frequency than the glycolytic oscillations. The frequency is between one and several hours. These oscillations are partly related to the reproductive cycle, i.e. the budding index also oscillates; however, under some conditions they are unrelated to the reproductive cycle, i.e. the budding index is constant. These oscillations also have an active synchronisation mechanism, which involves hydrogen sulfide as a synchronising agent. Oscillations with a frequency of days can be observed with yeast colonies on plates. Here the oscillations have a synchronisation mechanism which uses ammonia as a synchronising agent.
- Oscillatory metabolism
- Intercellular communication