Yeasts, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, have long served as useful models for the study of oxidative stress, an event associated with cell death and severe human pathologies. This review will discuss oxidative stress in yeast, in terms of sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS), their molecular targets, and the metabolic responses elicited by cellular ROS accumulation. Responses of yeast to accumulated ROS include upregulation of antioxidants mediated by complex transcriptional changes, activation of pro-survival pathways such as mitophagy, and programmed cell death (PCD) which, apart from apoptosis, includes pathways such as autophagy and necrosis, a form of cell death long considered accidental and uncoordinated. The role of ROS in yeast aging will also be discussed.
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