Date Published:Oct 24
Genome-wide transcriptional profiling has important applications in evolutionary biology for assaying the extent of heterozygosity for alleles showing quantitative variation in gene expression in natural populations. We have used DNA microarray analysis to study the global pattern of transcription in a homothallic strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolated from wine grapes in a Tuscan vineyard, along with the diploid progeny obtained after sporulation. The parental strain shows 2:2 segregation (heterozygosity) for three unlinked loci. One determines resistance to trifluoroleucine; another, resistance to copper sulfate; and the third is associated with a morphological phenotype observed as colonies with a ridged surface resembling a filigree. Global expression analysis of the progeny with the filigreed and smooth colony phenotypes revealed a greater than 2-fold difference in transcription for 378 genes (6% of the genome). A large number of the overexpressed genes function in pathways of amino acid biosynthesis (particularly methionine) and sulfur or nitrogen assimilation, whereas many of the underexpressed genes are amino acid permeases. These wholesale changes in amino acid metabolism segregate as a suite of traits resulting from a single gene or a small number of genes. We conclude that natural vineyard populations of S. cerevisiae can harbor alleles that cause massive alterations in the global patterns of gene expression. Hence, studies of expression variation in natural populations, without accompanying segregation analysis, may give a false picture of the number of segregating genes underlying the variation.
Cavalieri, DTownsend, J PHartl, D LengHG01250/HG/NHGRI NIH HHS/Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov'tResearch Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.2000/10/18 11:00Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Oct 24;97(22):12369-74.