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Concept: Yeasts


Over the last decade, the genome-scale metabolic models have been playing increasingly important roles in elucidating metabolic characteristics of biological systems for a wide range of applications including, but not limited to, system-wide identification of drug targets and production of high value biochemical compounds. However, these genome-scale metabolic models must be able to first predict known in vivo phenotypes before it is applied towards these applications with high confidence. One benchmark for measuring the in silico capability in predicting in vivo phenotypes is the use of single-gene mutant libraries to measure the accuracy of knockout simulations in predicting mutant growth phenotypes.

Concepts: Scientific method, Metabolism, Yeast, Model organism, Ascomycota, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Yeasts, Schizosaccharomyces


Arsenic toxicity has been studied for a long time due to its effects in humans. Although epidemiological studies have demonstrated multiple effects in human physiology, there are many open questions about the cellular targets and the mechanisms of response to arsenic. Using the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe as model system, we have been able to demonstrate a strong activation of the MAPK Spc1/Sty1 in response to arsenate. This activation is dependent on Wis1 activation and Pyp2 phosphatase inactivation. Using arsenic speciation analysis we have also demonstrated the previously unknown capacity of S. pombe cells to reduce As (V) to As (III). Genetic analysis of several fission yeast mutants point towards the cell cycle phosphatase Cdc25 as a possible candidate to carry out this arsenate reductase activity. We propose that arsenate reduction and intracellular accumulation of arsenite are the key mechanisms of arsenate tolerance in fission yeast.

Concepts: Yeast, Model organism, Ascomycota, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Yeasts, Model organisms, Schizosaccharomyces, Paul Nurse


In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, the transcriptional-regulatory network that governs flocculation remains poorly understood. Here, we systematically screened an array of transcription factor deletion and overexpression strains for flocculation and performed microarray expression profiling and ChIP-chip analysis to identify the flocculin target genes. We identified five transcription factors that displayed novel roles in the activation or inhibition of flocculation (Rfl1, Adn2, Adn3, Sre2, and Yox1), in addition to the previously-known Mbx2, Cbf11, and Cbf12 regulators. Overexpression of mbx2(+) and deletion of rfl1(+) resulted in strong flocculation and transcriptional upregulation of gsf2(+)/pfl1(+) and several other putative flocculin genes (pfl2(+)-pfl9(+)). Overexpression of the pfl(+) genes singly was sufficient to trigger flocculation, and enhanced flocculation was observed in several combinations of double pfl(+) overexpression. Among the pfl1(+) genes, only loss of gsf2(+) abrogated the flocculent phenotype of all the transcription factor mutants and prevented flocculation when cells were grown in inducing medium containing glycerol and ethanol as the carbon source, thereby indicating that Gsf2 is the dominant flocculin. In contrast, the mild flocculation of adn2(+) or adn3(+) overexpression was likely mediated by the transcriptional activation of cell wall-remodeling genes including gas2(+), psu1(+), and SPAC4H3.03c. We also discovered that Mbx2 and Cbf12 displayed transcriptional autoregulation, and Rfl1 repressed gsf2(+) expression in an inhibitory feed-forward loop involving mbx2(+). These results reveal that flocculation in S. pombe is regulated by a complex network of multiple transcription factors and target genes encoding flocculins and cell wall-remodeling enzymes. Moreover, comparisons between the flocculation transcriptional-regulatory networks of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and S. pombe indicate substantial rewiring of transcription factors and cis-regulatory sequences.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Gene expression, Yeast, Model organism, Ascomycota, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Yeasts


BACKGROUND: Inorganic phosphate is an essential nutrient required by organisms for growth. During phosphate starvation, Saccharomyces cerevisiae activates the phosphate signal transduction (PHO) pathway, leading to expression of the secreted acid phosphatase, PHO5. The fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, regulates expression of the ScPHO5 homolog (pho1+) via a non-orthologous PHO pathway involving genetically identified positive (pho7+) and negative (csk1+) regulators. The genes induced by phosphate limitation and the molecular mechanism by which pho7+ and csk1+ function are unknown. Here we use a combination of molecular biology, expression microarrays, and chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-Seq) to characterize the role of pho7+ and csk1+ in the PHO response. RESULTS: We define the set of genes that comprise the initial response to phosphate starvation in S. pombe. We identify a conserved PHO response that contains the ScPHO5 (pho1+), ScPHO84 (SPBC8E4.01c), and ScGIT1 (SPBC1271.09) orthologs. We identify members of the Pho7 regulon and characterize Pho7 binding in response to phosphate-limitation and Csk1 activity. We demonstrate that activation of pho1+ requires Pho7 binding to a UAS in the pho1+ promoter and that Csk1 repression does not regulate Pho7 enrichment. Further, we find that Pho7-dependent activation is not limited to phosphate-starvation, as additional environmental stress response pathways require pho7+ for maximal induction. CONCLUSIONS: We provide a global analysis of the transcriptional response to phosphate limitation in S. pombe. Our results elucidate the conserved core regulon induced in response to phosphate starvation in this ascomycete distantly related to S. cerevisiae and provide a better understanding of flexibility in environmental stress response networks.

Concepts: DNA, Molecular biology, Yeast, Model organism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Ascomycota, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Yeasts


Regulation of polarised cell growth is essential for many cellular processes including spatial coordination of cell morphology changes during the division cycle. We present a mathematical model of the core mechanism responsible for the regulation of polarised growth dynamics during the fission yeast cell cycle. The model is based on the competition of growth zones localised at the cell tips for a common substrate distributed uniformly in the cytosol. We analyse the bifurcations in this model as the cell length increases, and show that the growth activation dynamics provides an explanation for the new-end take-off (NETO) as a saddle-node bifurcation at which the cell sharply switches from monopolar to bipolar growth. We study the parameter sensitivity of the bifurcation diagram and relate qualitative changes of the growth pattern, e.g. delayed or absent NETO, to previously observed mutant phenotypes. We investigate the effects of imperfect asymmetric cell division, and show that this leads to distinct growth patterns that provide experimentally testable predictions for validating the presented competitive growth zone activation model. Finally we discuss extension of the model for describing mutant cells with more than two growth zones.

Concepts: Cell nucleus, Cell division, Yeast, Model organism, Cell cycle, Ascomycota, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Yeasts


BACKGROUND: Replication and transcription, the two key functions of DNA, require unwinding of the DNA double helix. It has been shown that replication origins in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae contain an easily unwound stretch of DNA. We have used a recently developed method for determining the locations and degrees of stress-induced duplex destabilization (SIDD) for all the reported replication origins in the genome of the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. RESULTS: We have found that the origins are more susceptible to SIDD as compared to the non-origin intergenic regions (NOIRs) and genes. SIDD analysis of many known origins in other eukaryotes suggests that SIDD is a common property of replication origins. Interestingly, the previously shown deletion-dependent changes in the activities of the origins of the ura4 origin region on chromosome 3 are paralleled by changes in SIDD properties, suggesting SIDD’s role in origin activity. SIDD profiling following in silico deletions of some origins suggests that many of the closely spaced S. pombe origins could be clusters of two or three weak origins, similar to the ura4 origin region. CONCLUSION: SIDD appears to be a highly conserved, functionally important property of replication origins in S. pombe and other organisms. The distinctly low SIDD scores of origins and the long range effects of genetic alterations on SIDD properties provide a unique predictive potential to the SIDD analysis. This could be used in exploring different aspects of structural and functional organization of origins including interactions between closely spaced origins.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genome, Yeast, Model organism, Ascomycota, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Yeasts


We previously identified MGL_1304 secreted by Malassezia globosa as a sweat antigen for patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) and cholinergic urticaria (ChU). However, purifying native MGL_1304 from human sweat or culture supernatant of M. globosa (sup-MGL_1304) is costly and time-consuming. Moreover, recombinant MGL_1304 expressed by using Escherichia coli (TF-rMGL_1304) needs a large chaperon protein and lacks the original glycosylation of yeasts. Thus, we generated a recombinant MGL_1304 by Pichia pastoris (P-rMGL_1304) and investigated its characteristic features.

Concepts: Protein, Gut flora, Endoplasmic reticulum, Fungus, Escherichia coli, Atopy, Yeasts, Cholinergic urticaria


Candida famata (teleomorph Debaryomyces hansenii) has been described as a medically relevant yeast, and this species has been included in many commercial identification systems that are currently used in clinical laboratories. Among 53 strains collected during the SENTRY and ARTEMIS surveillance programs and previously identified as C. famata (includes all submitted strains with this identification) by a variety of commercial methods (Vitek, MicroScan, API, and AuxaColor), DNA sequencing methods demonstrated that 19 strains were C. guilliermondii, 14 were C. parapsilosis, 5 were C. lusitaniae, 4 were C. albicans, and 3 were C. tropicalis, and five isolates belonged to other Candida species (two C. fermentati and one each C. intermedia, C. pelliculosa, and Pichia fabianni). Additionally, three misidentified C. famata strains were correctly identified as Kodomaea ohmeri, Debaryomyces nepalensis, and Debaryomyces fabryi using intergenic transcribed spacer (ITS) and/or intergenic spacer (IGS) sequencing. The Vitek 2 system identified three isolates with high confidence to be C. famata and another 15 with low confidence between C. famata and C. guilliermondii or C. parapsilosis, displaying only 56.6% agreement with DNA sequencing results. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) results displayed 81.1% agreement with DNA sequencing. One strain each of C. metapsilosis, C. fermentati, and C. intermedia demonstrated a low score for identification (<2.0) in the MALDI Biotyper. K. ohmeri, D. nepalensis, and D. fabryi identified by DNA sequencing in this study were not in the current database for the MALDI Biotyper. These results suggest that the occurrence of C. famata in fungal infections is much lower than previously appreciated and that commercial systems do not produce accurate identifications except for the newly introduced MALDI-TOF instruments.

Concepts: DNA, Mass spectrometry, Yeast, Candida albicans, Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization, Candidiasis, Yeasts


There has been increasing interest in the use of selected non-Saccharomyces yeasts in co-culture with Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The main reason is that the multistarter fermentation process is thought to simulate indigenous fermentation, thus increasing wine aroma complexity while avoiding the risks linked to natural fermentation. However, multistarter fermentation is characterised by complex and largely unknown interactions between yeasts. Consequently the resulting wine quality is rather unpredictable. In order to better understand the interactions that take place between non-Saccharomyces and Saccharomyces yeasts during alcoholic fermentation, we analysed the volatile profiles of several mono-culture and co-cultures. Candida zemplinina, Torulaspora delbrueckii and Metschnikowia pulcherrima were used to conduct fermentations either in mono-culture or in co-culture with S. cerevisiae. Up to 48 volatile compounds belonging to different chemical families were quantified. For the first time, we show that C. zemplinina is a strong producer of terpenes and lactones. We demonstrate by means of multivariate analysis that different interactions exist between the co-cultures studied. We observed a synergistic effect on aromatic compound production when M. pulcherrima was in co-culture with S. cerevisiae. However a negative interaction was observed between C. zemplinina and S. cerevisiae, which resulted in a decrease in terpene and lactone content. These interactions are independent of biomass production. The aromatic profiles of T. delbrueckii and S. cerevisiae in mono-culture and in co-culture are very close, and are biomass-dependent, reflecting a neutral interaction. This study reveals that a whole family of compounds could be altered by such interactions. These results suggest that the entire metabolic pathway is affected by these interactions.

Concepts: Yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces pastorianus, Brewing, Yeasts, Saccharomycetes, Saccharomycetaceae, Sauvignon blanc


In order to better understand the differences in xylose metabolism between natural xylose-utilizing Pichia stipitis and metabolically engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we constructed a series of recombinant S. cerevisiae strains with different xylose reductase/xylitol dehydrogenase/xylulokinase activity ratios by integrating xylitol dehydrogenase gene (XYL2) into the chromosome with variable copies and heterogeneously expressing xylose reductase gene (XYL1) and endogenous xylulokinase gene (XKS1). The strain with the highest specific xylose uptake rate and ethanol productivity on pure xylose fermentation was selected to compare to P. stipitis under oxygen-limited condition. Physiological and enzymatic comparison showed that they have different patterns of xylose metabolism and NADPH generation.

Concepts: Fungus, Yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Brewing, Beer, Yeasts, Saccharomycetes, Saccharomycetaceae