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PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e48964. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048964. Epub 2012 Nov 6.

Random phenotypic variation of yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) single-gene knockouts fits a double pareto-lognormal distribution.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biology, Berry College, Mount Berry, Georgia, USA. jgraham@berry.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Distributed robustness is thought to influence the buffering of random phenotypic variation through the scale-free topology of gene regulatory, metabolic, and protein-protein interaction networks. If this hypothesis is true, then the phenotypic response to the perturbation of particular nodes in such a network should be proportional to the number of links those nodes make with neighboring nodes. This suggests a probability distribution approximating an inverse power-law of random phenotypic variation. Zero phenotypic variation, however, is impossible, because random molecular and cellular processes are essential to normal development. Consequently, a more realistic distribution should have a y-intercept close to zero in the lower tail, a mode greater than zero, and a long (fat) upper tail. The double Pareto-lognormal (DPLN) distribution is an ideal candidate distribution. It consists of a mixture of a lognormal body and upper and lower power-law tails.

OBJECTIVE AND METHODS:

If our assumptions are true, the DPLN distribution should provide a better fit to random phenotypic variation in a large series of single-gene knockout lines than other skewed or symmetrical distributions. We fit a large published data set of single-gene knockout lines in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to seven different probability distributions: DPLN, right Pareto-lognormal (RPLN), left Pareto-lognormal (LPLN), normal, lognormal, exponential, and Pareto. The best model was judged by the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC).

RESULTS:

Phenotypic variation among gene knockouts in S. cerevisiae fits a double Pareto-lognormal (DPLN) distribution better than any of the alternative distributions, including the right Pareto-lognormal and lognormal distributions.

CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE:

A DPLN distribution is consistent with the hypothesis that developmental stability is mediated, in part, by distributed robustness, the resilience of gene regulatory, metabolic, and protein-protein interaction networks. Alternatively, multiplicative cell growth, and the mixing of lognormal distributions having different variances, may generate a DPLN distribution.

PMID:
23139826
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3490920
Free PMC Article
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