Red but not dead? Membranes of stressed Saccharomyces cerevisiae are permeable to propidium iodide

H. M. Davey, P. Hexley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

102 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Flow cytometric monitoring of propidium iodide (PI) uptake is a well-established and rapid method for monitoring cell death and is used on the basis that the intact membrane of viable cells excludes the propidium ion and that loss of this permeability barrier represents irreparable damage and thus cell death. These assumptions are typically based on analysis of live and killed cells. Here we have identified stress levels that lead to a loss of viability of a proportion of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells and under these conditions we show that there is a subpopulation of cells that can take up PI during and immediately following exposure to stress but that a short incubation allows repair of the membrane damage such that subsequent exposure to PI does not result in staining. Irrespective of the stress applied, approximately 7% of cells exhibited the ability to repair. These results indicate that the level of damage that the yeast cell membrane can sustain and yet retain the ability to repair is greater than previously recognized and care must therefore be taken in using the terms 'PI-positive' and 'dead' synonymously. We discuss these findings in the context of the potential for such environmental stress-induced, transient membrane permeability to have evolutionary implications via the facilitation of horizontal gene transfer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-171
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental microbiology
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

Fingerprint

Propidium
iodide
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
repair
membrane
Membranes
damage
cells
permeability
cell death
Permeability
Cell Death
Cell Membrane
gene transfer
facilitation
monitoring
environmental stress
Horizontal Gene Transfer
subpopulation
yeast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Red but not dead? Membranes of stressed Saccharomyces cerevisiae are permeable to propidium iodide. / Davey, H. M.; Hexley, P.

In: Environmental microbiology, Vol. 13, No. 1, 01.01.2011, p. 163-171.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{d99e892990b744f9ac0bee40577ff51f,
title = "Red but not dead? Membranes of stressed Saccharomyces cerevisiae are permeable to propidium iodide",
abstract = "Flow cytometric monitoring of propidium iodide (PI) uptake is a well-established and rapid method for monitoring cell death and is used on the basis that the intact membrane of viable cells excludes the propidium ion and that loss of this permeability barrier represents irreparable damage and thus cell death. These assumptions are typically based on analysis of live and killed cells. Here we have identified stress levels that lead to a loss of viability of a proportion of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells and under these conditions we show that there is a subpopulation of cells that can take up PI during and immediately following exposure to stress but that a short incubation allows repair of the membrane damage such that subsequent exposure to PI does not result in staining. Irrespective of the stress applied, approximately 7{\%} of cells exhibited the ability to repair. These results indicate that the level of damage that the yeast cell membrane can sustain and yet retain the ability to repair is greater than previously recognized and care must therefore be taken in using the terms 'PI-positive' and 'dead' synonymously. We discuss these findings in the context of the potential for such environmental stress-induced, transient membrane permeability to have evolutionary implications via the facilitation of horizontal gene transfer.",
author = "Davey, {H. M.} and P. Hexley",
year = "2011",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1111/j.1462-2920.2010.02317.x",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "13",
pages = "163--171",
journal = "Environmental Microbiology",
issn = "1462-2912",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Red but not dead? Membranes of stressed Saccharomyces cerevisiae are permeable to propidium iodide

AU - Davey, H. M.

AU - Hexley, P.

PY - 2011/1/1

Y1 - 2011/1/1

N2 - Flow cytometric monitoring of propidium iodide (PI) uptake is a well-established and rapid method for monitoring cell death and is used on the basis that the intact membrane of viable cells excludes the propidium ion and that loss of this permeability barrier represents irreparable damage and thus cell death. These assumptions are typically based on analysis of live and killed cells. Here we have identified stress levels that lead to a loss of viability of a proportion of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells and under these conditions we show that there is a subpopulation of cells that can take up PI during and immediately following exposure to stress but that a short incubation allows repair of the membrane damage such that subsequent exposure to PI does not result in staining. Irrespective of the stress applied, approximately 7% of cells exhibited the ability to repair. These results indicate that the level of damage that the yeast cell membrane can sustain and yet retain the ability to repair is greater than previously recognized and care must therefore be taken in using the terms 'PI-positive' and 'dead' synonymously. We discuss these findings in the context of the potential for such environmental stress-induced, transient membrane permeability to have evolutionary implications via the facilitation of horizontal gene transfer.

AB - Flow cytometric monitoring of propidium iodide (PI) uptake is a well-established and rapid method for monitoring cell death and is used on the basis that the intact membrane of viable cells excludes the propidium ion and that loss of this permeability barrier represents irreparable damage and thus cell death. These assumptions are typically based on analysis of live and killed cells. Here we have identified stress levels that lead to a loss of viability of a proportion of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells and under these conditions we show that there is a subpopulation of cells that can take up PI during and immediately following exposure to stress but that a short incubation allows repair of the membrane damage such that subsequent exposure to PI does not result in staining. Irrespective of the stress applied, approximately 7% of cells exhibited the ability to repair. These results indicate that the level of damage that the yeast cell membrane can sustain and yet retain the ability to repair is greater than previously recognized and care must therefore be taken in using the terms 'PI-positive' and 'dead' synonymously. We discuss these findings in the context of the potential for such environmental stress-induced, transient membrane permeability to have evolutionary implications via the facilitation of horizontal gene transfer.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=78650772915&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=78650772915&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2010.02317.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2010.02317.x

M3 - Article

C2 - 21199254

AN - SCOPUS:78650772915

VL - 13

SP - 163

EP - 171

JO - Environmental Microbiology

JF - Environmental Microbiology

SN - 1462-2912

IS - 1

ER -