The vacuole life cycle of yeast series, cell #4

September 21, 2012

Transmission electron microscopy is a powerful technique that allows us to peer deep inside cells. Dynamic cellular processes, like the fission and fusion of internal compartments, are frozen in time by an aldehyde-containing fixative, allowing us to get a glimpse of a population of near 100% genetic clones.

The cell in this gallery is a wildtype strain (BY4716) of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or budding yeast. As is evidenced in the high magnification zooms, the formation of multilamellar compartments is a normal event in the lives of vacuoles and related trafficking organelles.

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  • Avinash

    Multi-lamellar compartments give rise to multiple vacuoles? I remember (from textbooks) vacuoles as single-membrane bodies, and had assumed they formed and pinched off similar to other vesicles.

    • ethanperlstein

      I assume multilamellar structures are associated with autophagosome degradation inside vacuoles. What do you mean by “give rise to multiple vacuoles?”

      • Avinash

        Didn’t know of the connection between autophagosomes and vacuoles. Had assumed autophagosomes fused with lysosomes prior to degradation.

        • Ethan Perlstein

          Correct, they fuse to form so called “autophagolysosomes.” These structures them meet their demise at the hands (mouths?) of proteases and phospholipases and other degrading enzymes.