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Transcriptional Activity and Protein Levels of Horizontally Acquired Genes in Yeast Reveal Hallmarks of Adaptation to Fermentative Environments.

ABSTRACT: In the past decade, the sequencing of large cohorts of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains has revealed a landscape of genomic regions acquired by Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT). The genes acquired by HGT play important roles in yeast adaptation to the fermentation process, improving nitrogen and carbon source utilization. However, the functional characterization of these genes at the molecular level has been poorly attended. In this work, we carried out a systematic analysis of the promoter activity and protein level of 30 genes contained in three horizontally acquired regions commonly known as regions A, B, and C. In three strains (one for each region), we used the luciferase reporter gene and the mCherry fluorescent protein to quantify the transcriptional and translational activity of these genes, respectively. We assayed the strains generated in four different culture conditions; all showed low levels of transcriptional and translational activity across these environments. However, we observed an increase in protein levels under low nitrogen culture conditions, suggesting a possible role of the horizontally acquired genes in the adaptation to nitrogen-limited environments. Furthermore, since the strains carrying the luciferase reporter gene are null mutants for the horizontally acquired genes, we assayed growth parameters (latency time, growth rate, and efficiency) and the fermentation kinetics in this set of deletion strains. The results showed that single deletion of 20 horizontally acquired genes modified the growth parameters, whereas the deletion of five of them altered the maximal CO2 production rate (Vmax). Interestingly, we observed a correlation between growth parameters and Vmax for an ORF within region A, encoding an ortholog to a thiamine (vitamin B1) transporter whose deletion decreased the growth rate, growth efficiency, and CO2 production. Altogether, our results provided molecular and phenotypic evidence highlighting the importance of horizontally acquired genes in yeast adaptation to fermentative environments.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC7212421 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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