Why is programmed cell death important for unicellular living beings?

The Answer

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9.2.14- Programmed cell death is important for unicellular living beings too

In multicellular organisms, cells are killed for the benefit of the whole. For example, programmed cell deaths that are created with the aim of developing tissues and protecting the organism from diseases are completely for the benefit of the organism. However, programmed cell death occurs in unicellular organisms too. The benefit of the whole is unimaginable in a single-celled organism because the creature is created from a single cell. So why does a single-celled organism have a programmed mechanism of death? This question has occupied scientists for a long time. It has been determined that programmed cell death mechanism is not operated in states like aging and exposure to toxins in single-celled organisms (for example yeast cells). The following conclusions can be drawn from it first:

1. The Supreme Creator, who created life, also created death and placed the death program in all living beings. Under normal circumstances, all living beings live in the predetermined times, perform tasks loaded on them in ecosystems and are killed by the program. Let us try to explain the physiological benefits of programmed cell death in single-celled organisms by considering yeast cells.1

2. The yeast cells that cannot reproduce are killed by programmed cell death. If mating is successful in yeast cells, programmed cell death does not occur. This event is thought to be caused by low-dose secreted pheromones (chemical substances that regulate social relations between members of the same species) if mating fails or is inefficient. Infertile cells are removed with programmed cell death. About 20% of the yeast cells die programmatically at the time of reproduction because of not having the ability to reproduce, and the remaining 80% continue normal reproduction (producing spores). The fact that yeast cells that are not fertile are killed at the time of reproduction is in fact a mechanism that guarantees the survival of the species.2,3

It is definitely not possible for a mindless and unconscious single-celled creature to think of scarifying itself, which is a fact that has been discovered only recently, for the continuation of the species. Today, even sane and conscious human beings have difficulty in achieving a sustainable population growth. The existence of such a useful mechanism of death for the continuation of the species in a mindless and unconscious yeast cell cannot be explained by blind coincidence and unconscious causes. The wise deeds of a yeast cell is possible only through the mercy of the owner of infinite knowledge, will and power.

3. Yeast cells are eliminated not only at the time of reproduction but also at other times by programmed cell death. Reduction of the amount of the nutrients in the medium triggers programmed cell death mechanism in older yeast cells. Older individuals sacrifice themselves for the survival of young individuals.

Most microorganisms tend to form collective life and biofilms. In this kind of collective life, the benefit of society, not the individual, is considered. When nutrients decrease in the medium, old individuals are killed by programmed death. Thus, more food is provided to young individuals. Young individuals are provided with the opportunity to live longer and to reproduce. In addition, virus-infected, aged, genetically damaged (mutated) yeast cells are also killed by programmed death. Thus, a healthier generation and community are obtained.

Giving high-reproductive power to single-celled organisms is as wise as establishing a programmed mechanism of death.

Yeast cells that settle on a rotting fruit reproduce rapidly until the nutrient is reduced and they form a large colony. When the fruit is completely covered with the colony and it is understood that there is no more food (fruit), the old and damaged cells are killed first based on a program.4,5

This is in fact an example of sacrifice and solidarity at the expense of death for the survival and continuation of the colony. What is interesting in such a situation is how it is determined which aged or damaged cells will commit suicide. It has been reported in some studies that some particular chemical compounds (alcohols) are used in such surprising social interactions among yeast cells.6

That is such a perfect mechanism that yeast cells recognize the special chemical that expresses the death order among thousands of chemicals, takes the death order and dies. Hundreds of chemicals (special proteins such as enzymes) are used for the programmed death of a single-celled organism, and the mechanism functions flawlessly. The fact that tiny creatures know and apply such complex mechanisms and patterns of behavior that even scientists do not know cannot have been gained by chance-based evolutionary mechanisms.

The existence and oneness of the Creator is understood from such wonderful works and deeds. Programmed cell death is an essential mechanism for removing older individuals from the medium.

The same thing applies to multicellular animals and human beings. If the old individuals of animals and humans were not killed with programmed cell death, it would not be possible to mention ecological balance and the healthy existence of living beings. Place is provided for new and intact cells with the death of old, sick and defective cells.

It has been found that calorie restriction in yeast cells increases life expectancy. It is estimated that this applies to all living beings, from single-celled organisms to mammals and humans. In addition, the mechanism of glucose-dependent signaling in living beings is estimated to be associated with the mechanism of programmed cell death. Calorie restriction, especially during the aging process, delays programmed cell death and lengthens life.7,8

Since man, who is the most intelligent and conscious being among living beings on earth, has no role in the death of the cells in his body and the creation of new ones, plants and animals will definitely have no role in programmed death.

All these programmed deaths are the work of eternal mercy and grace.

4. Yeast cells die programmatically during wartime. If the toxins secreted by the rival yeast cells are low, programmed death is triggered in the yeast cells and necrotic death occurs when the secreted toxin is high.9

As it is seen, the programmed cell death mechanism is operated at every stage of life in single-celled organisms. Although death is against the individual, it is in favor of the species and is beautiful. Giving high-reproductive power to single-celled organisms is as wise as establishing a programmed mechanism of death. All these wise works show the existence of the Creator too.

1.Büttneret al., 2006. The Journal of Cell Biology, 175 (4), 521–525
2.Severin, F.F. ve Hyman AA., 2002. Curr. Biol., 12, 233–235. 
3.Knorreet al.,Biochemistry (Mosc.). 70. 264–266.
4.Fabrizio et al., 2004. J. Cell Biol. 166, 1055–1067.
5.Büttneret al., 2006. The Journal of Cell Biology, 175 (4), 521–525
6.Chen H. and Fink GR., 2006. Genes Dev. 20, 1150–1161.
7.Fabrizio et al., 2004. J. Cell Biol. 166, 1055–1067.
8.Koubova J. and Guarente L., 2003. Genes Dev. 17:313–321.
9.Reiter et al. J., Cell Biol. 168, 353–358.

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