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Genome Res. 2003 Dec;13(12):2686-90. Epub 2003 Nov 12.

Correlations between gene expression and gene conservation in fission yeast.

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  • 1The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SA, UK.

Abstract

Genes can be expressed at a wide range of levels, and they show different degrees of cross-species conservation. We compared gene expression levels to gene conservation by integrating microarray data from fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) with lists of "core" genes (present in worm and budding and fission yeasts), "yeast-specific" genes (present in budding and fission yeasts, but not in worm), and "pombe-specific" genes (present in fission yeast only). Whereas a disproportionate number of core genes are highly expressed in vegetatively growing cells, many pombe-specific genes are expressed at lower levels. This bias is less pronounced in cells undergoing sexual development, when many pombe-specific genes become highly expressed. This implies that organism-specific proteins are more likely to function during specialized processes such as cellular differentiation. Accordingly, pombe-specific genes were overrepresented among genes induced during sexual development; they were particularly enriched in a group of genes induced during meiotic prophase, when homologous chromosomes pair and recombine. This raises the possibility that organism-specific genes with functions in meiotic prophase favor speciation by preventing fruitful meiosis between closely related organisms. Finally, the set of genes induced late during sexual differentiation, at the time of spore formation, was enriched in yeast-specific genes, indicating that these genes play specialized roles in ascospore development.

PMID:
14613978
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC403810
Free PMC Article

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