Molecular and Cellular Biology of Yeast Population, Interaction, Signalling and Differentiation

Molecular and Cellular Biology of Yeast Population, Interaction, Signalling and Differentiation

prof. RNDr. Zdena Palková, CSc.

prof. RNDr. Zdena Palková, CSc. — Project head

The Faculty of Science of the Charles University

About us

Our research group studies development and differentiation of yeast colonies and biofilms. The project takes advantage from the close collaboration with the research team of Dr. Libuše Váchová (Institute of Microbiology of the CAS).

Yeast cells growing on solid surfaces form multicellular structures, colonies and biofilms, with typical morphologies and organization. During colony development yeast cells differentiate and form specifically localized cell subpopulations that perform particular tasks within the structure. Yeast colonies thus behave like primitive multicellular organisms, in that cells communicate, synchronize their development and differentiate into primitive "tissues". Cell differentiation often contributes to longevity of the whole colony population.

Current research includes following major ongoing lines:

  1. Development and differentiation of smooth colonies formed by laboratory and domesticated strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  2. Development and differentiation of colony biofilms formed by wild Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains

A new research line has been initiated recently that is focused on identification of selected differentiation processes in colonies and biofilms of pathogenic yeast and during interaction with host cells.



Helping with COVID-19 pandemic

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our laboratory is working to develop a new method for rapid detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Compared to methods in current use, this method promises faster, more sensitive and safer detection of the virus in clinical samples, it is less demanding in terms of instrumentation and does not require complicated sample processing.

In the lab




Čáp, M., Palková, Z. (2024) Non-Coding RNAs: Regulators of Stress, Ageing, and Developmental Decisions in Yeast? Cells 13: 599, doi: 10.3390/cells13070599

Čáp, M., Palková, Z. (2024) The characteristics of differentiated yeast subpopulations depend on their lifestyle and available nutrients. Scientific Reports 14:3681, doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-54300-9

Váchová L., Plocek V., Maršíková J., Rešetárová S., Hatáková L., Palková Z. (2024) Differential stability of Gcn4p controls its cell-specific activity in differentiated yeast colonies. mBio 15(5): e00689-24, doi:10.1128/mbio.00689-24


Hardwick J.M., Knorre D., Palkova Z., Winderickx J. (2022) Editorial: Yeast Differentiation: From Cell-to-Cell Heterogeneity to Replicative Aging and Regulated Cell Death. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology 9: 823447, doi: 10.3389/fcell.2021.823447

Tate J., Marsikova J., Vachova L., Palkova Z, Cooper T.G. (2022) Effects of abolishing Whi2 on the proteome and nitrogen catabolite repression-sensitive protein production. G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics 12(3): jkab432 doi: 10.1093/g3journal/jkab432


Plocek V., Fadrhonc K., Maršíková J., Váchová L., Pokorná A., Hlaváček O., Wilkinson D., Palková Z. (2021) Mitochondrial retrograde signaling contributes to metabolic differentiation in yeast colonies. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22: 5597, DOI: 10.3390/ijms22115597

Palková Z., Váchová L. (2021) Spatially structured yeast communities: Understanding structure formation and regulation with omics tools. Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal 19: 5613-5621,

Guaragnella, N., Ždralević, M., Palková, Z., Giannattasio, S. (2021) Analysis of Mitochondrial Retrograde Signaling in Yeast Model Systems. In: Methods in Molecular Biology book series (Mitochondrial Medicine, Second Edition, Volume 2: Assessing Mitochondria (Weissig V. & Edeas M., Eds.), Springer) 2276: 87-102, doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-1266-8_6


Van Nguyen P., Plocek V., Váchová L., Palková Z. (2020) Glucose, Cyc8p and Tup1p regulate biofilm formation and dispersal in wild Saccharomyces cerevisiae, npj Biofilms and Microbiomes 6:7; (

Plocek V., Váchová L., Šťovíček V., Palková Z. (2020) Cell distribution within yeast colonies and colony biofilms: How structure develops. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 21: 3873; doi:10.3390/ijms21113873

Maršíková J., Pavlíčková M., Wilkinson D., Váchová L., Hlaváček O., Hatáková L., Palková Z. (2020) The Whi2p-Psr1p/Psr2p complex regulates interference competition and expansion of cells with competitive advantage in yeast colonies. PNAS first published June 15, 2020


Vachova L., Palkova Z. (2019) Diverse roles of Tup1p and Cyc8p transcription regulators in the development of distinct types of yeast populations. Current Genetics 65(1): 147-151


Wilkinson D., Maršíková J., Hlaváček O., Gilfillan GD., Ježková E., Aaløkken R., Váchová L., Palková Z. (2018) Transcriptome remodeling of differentiated cells during chronological ageing of yeast colonies: New insights into metabolic differentiation. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, Volume 2018, Article ID 4932905

Wilkinson D., Váchová L., Hlaváček O., Maršíková J., Gilfillan G.D., Palková Z. (2018) Long non-coding RNAs in yeast cells and differentiated subpopulations of yeast colonies and biofilms. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, Volume 2018, Article ID 4950591,

Vachova L., Palkova Z. (2018) How structured yeast multicellular communities live, age and die? FEMS Yeast Research 18, 2018, foy033, 1-9

Segorbe, D., Wilkinson D., Mizeranschi A., Hughes T., Aaløkken R., Vachova L., Palkova Z., D. Gilfillan G.D. (2018) An optimized FAIRE procedure for low cell numbers in yeast. Yeast 2018: 1-6 doi: 10.1002/yea.3316

Aouacheria A, Cunningham, KW., Hardwick, JM., Palková, Z., Powers, T., Severin, FF., Váchová, L., Comment on “Sterilizing immunity in the lung relies on targeting fungal apoptosis-like programmed cell death”, Science 360 (6395): eaar6910, DOI: 10.1126/science.aar6910

Van Nguyen P., Hlavacek O., Marsikova J., Vachova L., Palkova Z. (2018) Cyc8p and Tup1p transcription regulators antagonistically regulate Flo11p expression and complexity. PLoS genetics,


Hovsepian J., Defenouillère Q., Albanèse V., Váchová L., Garcia C., Palková Z., Léon S. (2017) Multilevel regulation of an α-arrestin by glucose depletion controls hexose transporter endocytosis. J. Cell Biol. 216(6): 1811-1831

Maršíková J., Wilkinson D., Hlaváček O., Gilfillan G., Mizeranschi A., Hughes T., Begany M., Rešetárová S., Váchová L., Palková Z. (2017) Metabolic differentiation of surface and invasive cells of yeast colony biofilms revealed by gene expression profiling. BMC Genomics (2017) 18:814, DOI 10.1186/s12864-017-4214-4

Zahumensky J. , Jancikova I., Drietomska A., Svenkrtova A., Hlavacek O., Hendrych T., Plasek J., Sigler K., Gaskova D. (2017) Yeast Tok1p channel is a major contributor to membrane potential maintenance under chemical stress. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta-Biomembranes 1859 (10 ): 1974-1985


Palkova Z, Vachova L (2016) Yeast cell differentiation: Lessons from pathogenic and non-pathogenic yeasts. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 57: 110-9.

Podholova K, Plocek V, Resetarova S, Kucerova H, Hlavacek O, Vachova L, Palkova Z (2016) Divergent branches of mitochondrial signaling regulate specific genes and the viability of specialized cell types of differentiated yeast colonies. Oncotarget 7: 15299-314.

Kuznetsov E., Váchová L., Palková Z. (2016) Cellular localization of Sun4p and its interaction with proteins in the yeast birth scar. Cell Cycle 15(14): 1898-1907

Palková Z., Váchová L. (2016) Mitochondria in aging cell differentiation. Aging-US 8(7): 1287-1288

Klionsky D.J. et al (2016) Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (3rd edition). Autophagy 12(1): 1-222, DOI:10.1080/15548627.2015.1100356


Vopálenská I., Váchová L., Palková Z. (2015) New biosensor for detection of copper ions in water based on immobilized genetically modified yeast cells. Biosensors and Bioelectronics 72: 160–167

Čáp M., Váchová L, Palková Z. (2015) Longevity of U cells of differentiated yeast colonies grown on respiratory medium depends on active glycolysis. Cell Cycle 14: 21, 3488-3497


Palková Z., Wilkinson D., Váchová L. (2014) Aging and differentiation in yeast populations: Elders with different properties and functions. FEMS Yeast Res. 14 (1): 96-108

Šťovíček V., Váchová L., Begany M., Wilkinson D., PalkováZ. (2014) Global changes in gene expression associated with phenotypic switching of wild yeast. BMC Genomics 15: Art. No. 136, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-136


Kuznetsov E,, Kučerová H,, Váchová L,, Palková Z, (2013) SUN Family Proteins Sun4p, Uth1p and Sim1p Are Secreted from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Produced Dependently on Oxygen Level. PLoS One. 2013 Sep 11;8(9):e73882. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073882

Paiva S., Strachotová D., Kučerová H., Hlaváček O., Mota S., Casal M., Palková Z., Váchová L. (2013) The transport of carboxylic acids and important role of the Jen1p transporter during the development of yeast colonies. Biochem. J. 454 (3): 551-558

Váchová L., Hatáková L., Čáp M., Pokorná M., Palková Z. (2013) Rapidly Developing Yeast Microcolonies Differentiate in a Similar Way to Aging Giant Colonies. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, Article Number: UNSP 102485, doi: 10.1155/2013/102485


Váchová L., Čáp M., Palková Z. (2012) Yeast Colonies: A Model for Studies of Aging, Environmental Adaptation, and Longevity. Oxidative Med. Cell. Longev. Article Number: 601836   DOI: 10.1155/2012/601836

Šťovíček V., Váchová L., Palková Z. (2012) Yeast biofilm colony as an orchestrated multicellular organism. Commun Integr Biol 5: 203-205

Pineda-Rodó A., Váchová L., Palková Z. (2012) In vivo determination of organellar pH using a universal wavelength-based confocal microscopy approach, PLOS One 7: e33229, doi:10.1371/journal.pone. 0033229

Palkova Z., Vachova L. (2012) Communication and differentiation in the development of yeast colonies, In: Biocommunication in Fungi, Edited by Guenther Witzany, Springer 2012, pp 141-154

Čáp M., Váchová L., Palková Z. (2012) Reactive oxygen species in the signaling and adaptation of multicellular microbial communities. Oxidative Med. Cell. Longev. Volume 2012, Article ID 976753, doi:10.1155/2012/976753

Čáp M., Štěpánek L., Harant K., Vachová L., Palková Z. (2012) Cell differentiation within a yeast colony: Metabolic and regulatory parallels with a tumor-affected organism. Molecular Cell 46: 436-448

Cottier F., Raymond M., Kurzai O., Bolstad M., Leewattanapasuk W., Jiménez-López C. , Lorenz MC., Sanglard D., Váchová L., Pavelka N.,  Palková Z., Mühlschlegel FA. (2012). The bZIP transcription factor Rca1p is a central regulator of a novel CO2 sensing pathway in yeast. PLOS Pathogen 8: e1002485,   DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002485

Strachotová D., Holoubek A., Kučerová H., Benda A., Humpolíčková J., Váchová L., Palková Z. (2012) Ato protein interactions in yeast plasma membrane revealed by fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM). BBA-Biomembranes 1818: 2126-2134 


Vachova L., Stovicek V., Hlavacek O., Chernyavskiy O., Stepanek L., Kubinova L., Palkova Z. (2011) Flo11p, drug efflux pumps, and the extracellular matrix cooperate to form biofilm yeast colonies. J Cell Biol. 194: 679-87

Vachova L., Palkova Z. (2011) Aging and longevity of yeast colony populations: metabolic adaptation and differentiation. Biochem Soc Trans. 39: 1471-5


Vopalenska I., Stovicek V., Janderova B., Vachova L., Palkova Z. (2010) Role of distinct dimorphic transitions in territory colonizing and formation of yeast colony architecture. Environ Microbiol 12: 264-77

Stovicek V., Vachova L., Kuthan M., Palkova Z. (2010) General factors important for the formation of structured biofilm-like yeast colonies. Fungal Genet Biol. 47: 1012-22

Cap M., Vachova L., Palkova Z. (2010) How to survive within a yeast colony: Change metabolism or cope with stress? Commun Integr Biol 3: 198-200


Vachova L., Kucerova H., Devaux F., Ulehlova M., Palkova Z. (2009) Metabolic diversification of cells during the development of yeast colonies. Environ. Microbiol. 11: 494-504

Vachova L., Chernyavskiy O., Strachotová D., Bianchini P., Burdiková Z., Ferciková I., Kubinova L., Palkova Z. (2009) Architecture of developing multicellular yeast colony: spatio-temporal expression of Ato1p ammonium exporter. Environ Microbiol. 11: 1866-1877

Palkova Z., Vachova L., Gaskova D., Kucerova H. (2009) Synchronous plasma membrane electrochemical potential oscillations during yeast colony development and aging. Mol Membr Biol. 26: 228-35

Hlavacek O., Kucerova H., Harant K., Palková Z., Vachová L. (2009) Putative role for ABC multidrug exporters in yeast quorum sensing. FEBS Lett. 583: 1107-13

Cap M., Vachova L., Palkova Z. (2009) Yeast colony survival depends on metabolic adaptation and cell differentiation rather than on stress defense. J Biol Chem. 284: 32572-81


Váchová L., Palková Z. (2007) Caspases in yeast apoptosis-like death: facts and artefacts. FEMS Yeast Res. 7: 12-21

Ricicova M., Kucerova H, Vachova L., Palkova Z. (2007) Association of putative ammonium exporters Ato with detergent-resistant compartments of plasma membrane during yeast colony development: pH affects Ato1p localization in patches. BBA-Biomembranes, 1768: 1170-8


Palková Z., Váchová L. (2006) Life within a community: benefit to yeast long-term survival. FEMS Microbiol Rev 30: 806–824


Vopalenska I., Hulkova M., Janderova B., Palkova Z. (2005) The morphology of Saccharomyces cerevisiae colonies is affected by cell adhesion and the budding pattern. Res Microbiol. 156: 921-31

Adamec T., Palkova Z., Velkova K., Stokrova J., Forstova J. (2005) Point mutation in calcium-binding domain of mouse polyomavirus VP1 protein does not prevent virus-like particle formation, but changes VP1 interactions with Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell structures. FEMS Yeast Res. 5: 331-40

Vachova L., Palkova Z. (2005) Physiological regulation of yeast cell death in multicellular colonies is triggered by ammonia. J Cell Biol. 169: 711-7


Vachova L., Devaux F., Kucerova H., Ricicova M., Jacq C., Palkova Z. (2004) Sok2p transcription factor is involved in adaptive program relevant for long-term survival of Saccharomyces cerevisiae colonies. J Biol Chem. 279: 37973-81

Palková Z., Váchová L., Valer M., Preckel T. (2004) Single cell analysis of yeast, mammalian cells and fungal spores with a microfluidic pressure driven chip-based system. Cytometry, part A 59: 246-253

Palková Z. (2004) Multicellular microorganisms: Laboratory versus nature. EMBO Reports, 5: 470-476


Ricicova M., Palkova Z. (2003) Comparative analyses of Saccharomyces cerevisiae RNAs using Agilent RNA 6000 Nano Assay and agarose gel electrophoresis. FEMS Yeast Res. 4: 119-22

Palková Z., Vachova L. (2003) Ammonia signalling in yeast colony formation. Int. Rev. Cytol., 225: 229 – 272, Invited review

Kuthan M., Devaux F., Janderová B., Slaninová I, Jacq C., Palková Z. (2003) Domestication of wild Saccharomyces cerevisiae is accompanied by changes in gene expression and colony morphology. Mol. Microbiol.47: 745-754

Adamec T., Palkova Z., Forstova J. (2003) Mouse polyomavirus large T antigen inhibits cell growth and alters cell and colony morphology in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. FEBS Lett. 555:268-73


Zikanova B., Kuthan M., Ricicova M., Forstova J., Palkova Z. (2002) Amino acids control ammonia pulses in yeast colonies. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 294: 962-967

Palkova Z., Devaux F., Ricicova M., Minarikova L., LeCrom S., Jacq C. (2002) Ammonia pulses and metabolic oscillations guide yeast colony development. Mol. Biol. Cell. 13: 3901-3914


Minarikova L., Kuthan M., Ricicova M., Forstova J., Palkova Z. (2001) Differentiated gene expression in cells within yeast colonies. Exp. Cell Res. 271: 296-304


Palková Z., Adamec T., Lieb D., Stokrová J., Forstová J. (2000). Production of polyomavirus structural protein, VP1, in yeast cells and its interaction with cell structures. FEBS Lett. 478: 281-289

Palková Z., Forstová J. (2000). Yeast colonies synchronise their growth and development. J. Cell Sci. 113: 1923-1928


Palková Z., Janderová B., Gabriel J., Zikánová B., Pospíšek M., Forstová J.(1997) Ammonia mediates communication between yeast colonies, Nature 390: 532-536


prof. RNDr. Zdena Palková, CSc. prof. RNDr. Zdena Palková, CSc.

prof. RNDr.
Zdena Palková, CSc.

Group Leader, Faculty of Science, Charles University
+420325873933, +420325873929
Ing. Miroslava Úlehlová Ing. Miroslava Úlehlová

Miroslava Úlehlová

Research Assistant
Vichi Sicha Irianto, M.Sc. Vichi Sicha Irianto, M.Sc.

Vichi Sicha Irianto, M.Sc.

Ph.D. Student