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Keywords:

  • cell heterogeneity;
  • glycolysis;
  • limit-cycle oscillation;
  • mathematical model;
  • microfluidic chamber

Yeast glycolytic oscillations have been studied since the 1950s in cell-free extracts and intact cells. For intact cells, sustained oscillations have so far only been observed at the population level, i.e. for synchronized cultures at high biomass concentrations. Using optical tweezers to position yeast cells in a microfluidic chamber, we were able to observe sustained oscillations in individual isolated cells. Using a detailed kinetic model for the cellular reactions, we simulated the heterogeneity in the response of the individual cells, assuming small differences in a single internal parameter. This is the first time that sustained limit-cycle oscillations have been demonstrated in isolated yeast cells.

Database The mathematical model described here has been submitted to the JWS Online Cellular Systems Modelling Database and can be accessed at http://jjj.biochem.sun.ac.za/database/gustavsson/index.html free of charge.