Under natural conditions yeast cells as well as other microorganisms are regularly subjected to the influence of severe drought, which leads to their serious dehydration. The dry seasons are then changed by rains and there is a restoration of normal water potential inside the cells. To survive such seasonal changes a lot of vegetative microbial cells, which belong to various genera and species, may be able to enter into a state of anhydrobiosis, in which their metabolism is temporarily and reversibly suspended or delayed. This evolutionarily developed adaptation to extreme conditions of the environment is widely used for practical goals - for conservation of microorganisms in collections, for maintenance and long storage of different important strain-producers and for other various biotechnological purposes. This current review presents the most important data obtained mainly in the studies of the structural and functional changes in yeast cells during dehydration. It describes the changes of the main organelles of eukaryotic cells and their role in cell survival in a dry state. The review provides information regarding the role of water in the structure and functions of biological macromolecules and membranes. Some important intracellular protective reactions of eukaryotic organisms, which were revealed in these studies and may have more general importance, are also discussed. The results of the studies of yeast anhydrobiosis summarized in the review show the possibilities of improving the conservation and long-term storage of various microorganisms and of increasing the quality of industrially produced dry microbial preparations.