The use of non-mammalian model organisms, including yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, can provide new insights into eukaryotic PCD (programmed cell death) pathways. In the present paper, we report recent achievements in the elucidation of the events leading to PCD that occur as a response to yeast treatment with AA (acetic acid). In particular, ROS (reactive oxygen species) generation, cyt c (cytochrome c) release and mitochondrial function and proteolytic activity will be dealt with as they vary along the AA-PCD time course by using both wild-type and mutant yeast cells. Two AA-PCD pathways are described sharing common features, but distinct from one another with respect to the role of ROS and mitochondria, the former in which YCA1 acts upstream of cyt c release and caspase-like activation in a ROS-dependent manner and the latter in which cyt c release does not occur, but caspase-like activity increases, in a ROS-independent manner.

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