ISB News

New Study on How Microbes Learn to Predict the Future

Adaptive Prediction of Yeast

July 28, 2017

In a study published in Genome Biology and Evolution, researchers at Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) designed an experiment to evolve novel adaptive prediction capability in yeast by repetitively exposing it to caffeine, followed by a toxin. Remarkably, the yeast cells learned the structure of this novel environmental pattern within as few as 50 generations to use caffeine as a cue for anticipating and mitigating lethal effects of the toxin.

3 Bullets:

  • Like plants and animals, even microbes can anticipate and prepare in advance for future changes in their environment
  • Similar to how Pavlov trained a dog to anticipate food when it heard a bell, ISB researchers trained yeast to anticipate a lethal toxin when it sensed caffeine
  • The study revealed how in a very short period of time yeast can evolve to ‘learn’ and ‘predict’ new patterns in their environment

Read More

Related Articles

  • Drs. Monica Orellana and Nitin Baliga

    New Study May Provide Knowledge for Increased Biofuel Production from Unicellular Algae

    With potential ramifications for increasing biofuel production from unicellular algae, ISB’s Drs. Mónica Orellana and Nitin Baliga, along with colleagues from the University of the Witwatersrand, used the chlorophyte algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to demonstrate the cell’s metabolic and physiological changes of lipid accumulation that occurs during nitrogen depletion.

    Read More
  • Path-seq illustration

    Profiling Pathogen Gene Expression from Infected Host Cells

    Researchers at ISB reported a novel method, Path-seq, to profile expression of all MTB genes within infected mice. This study presents the most comprehensive transcriptome profiling of MTB from in vivo infection and a major technical advancement for studying any host-pathogen interaction.

    Read More
  • Biology students

    Biology Classes ‘Come Alive’ After Teacher’s Summer with ISB

    Kyle Kinzler, a high school biology teacher from Portland, Oregon, spent part of last summer at Institute for Systems Biology to evolve his curriculum and learn new ways to teach relevant, compelling and innovative content to his students. As a result, he says his classes has “come alive.”

    Read More
Show More Articles