Genetic control of cellular quiescence in S. pombe.
Transition from proliferation to quiescence brings about extensive changes in cellular behavior and structure. However, the genes that are crucial for establishing and/or maintaining quiescence are largely unknown. The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe is an excellent model in which to study this problem, because it becomes quiescent under nitrogen starvation. Here, we characterize 610 temperature-sensitive mutants, and identify 33 genes that are required for entry into and maintenance of quiescence. These genes cover a broad range of cellular functions in the cytoplasm, membrane and nucleus. They encode proteins for stress-responsive and cell-cycle kinase signaling pathways, for actin-bound and osmo-controlling endosome formation, for RNA transcription, splicing and ribosome biogenesis, for chromatin silencing, for biosynthesis of lipids and ATP, for cell-wall and membrane morphogenesis, and for protein trafficking and vesicle fusion. We specifically highlight Fcp1, a CTD phosphatase of RNA polymerase II, which differentially affects the transcription of genes that are involved in quiescence and proliferation. We propose that the transcriptional role of Fcp1 is central in differentiating quiescence from proliferation.