TitleResource plasticity-driven carbon-nitrogen budgeting enables specialization and division of labor in a clonal community
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsVarahan S, Sinha V, Walvekar A, Krishna S, Laxman S
Date Published09/2020

Previously, we found that in glucose-limited Saccharomyces cerevisiae colonies, metabolic constraints drive cells into groups exhibiting gluconeogenic or glycolytic states. In that study, threshold amounts of trehalose - a limiting, produced carbon-resource, controls the emergence and self-organization of cells exhibiting the glycolytic state, serving as a carbon source that fuels glycolysis (Varahan et al., 2019). We now discover that the plasticity of use of a non-limiting resource, aspartate, controls both resource production and the emergence of heterogeneous cell states, based on differential metabolic budgeting. In gluconeogenic cells, aspartate is a carbon source for trehalose production, while in glycolytic cells using trehalose for carbon, aspartate is predominantly a nitrogen source for nucleotide synthesis. This metabolic plasticity of aspartate enables carbon-nitrogen budgeting, thereby driving the biochemical self-organization of distinct cell states. Through this organization, cells in each state exhibit true division of labor, providing growth/survival advantages for the whole community.