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Genetics. 2003 Apr;163(4):1287-98.

Mode of selection and experimental evolution of antifungal drug resistance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Department of Botany, University of Toronto, Mississauga, Ontario L5L 1C6, Canada.


We show that mode of selection, degree of dominance of mutations, and ploidy are determining factors in the evolution of resistance to the antifungal drug fluconazole in yeast. In experiment 1, yeast populations were subjected to a stepwise increase in fluconazole concentration over 400 generations. Under this regimen, two mutations in the same two chromosomal regions rose to high frequency in parallel in three replicate populations. These mutations were semidominant and additive in their effect on resistance. The first of these mutations mapped to PDR1 and resulted in the overexpression of the ABC transporter genes PDR5 and SNQ2. These mutations had an unexpected pleiotropic effect of reducing the residual ability of the wild type to reproduce at the highest concentrations of fluconazole. In experiment 2, yeast populations were subjected to a single high concentration of fluconazole. Under this regimen, a single recessive mutation appeared in each of three replicate populations. In a genome-wide screen of approximately 4700 viable deletion strains, 13 were classified as resistant to fluconazole (ERG3, ERG6, YMR102C, YMR099C, YPL056C, ERG28, OSH1, SCS2, CKA2, SML1, YBR147W, YGR283C, and YLR407W). The mutations in experiment 2 all mapped to ERG3 and resulted in the overexpression of the gene encoding the drug target ERG11, but not PDR5 and SNQ2. Diploid hybrids from experiments 1 and 2 were less fit than the parents in the presence of fluconazole. In a variation of experiment 2, haploids showed a higher frequency of resistance than diploids, suggesting that degree of dominance and ploidy are important factors in the evolution of antifungal drug resistance.

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