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PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e28684. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028684. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

Assessment of inactivating stop codon mutations in forty Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains: implications for [PSI] prion- mediated phenotypes.

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  • 1Genome Evolution Laboratory, Department of Biology, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland.


The yeast prion [PSI(+)] has been implicated in the generation of novel phenotypes by a mechanism involving a reduction in translation fidelity causing readthrough of naturally occurring stop codons. Some [PSI(+)] associated phenotypes may also be generated due to readthrough of inactivating stop codon mutations (ISCMs). Using next generation sequencing we have sequenced the genomes of two Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains that are commonly used for the study of the yeast [PSI(+)] prion. We have identified approximately 26,000 and 6,500 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in strains 74-D694 and G600 respectively, compared to reference strain S288C. In addition to SNPs that produce non-synonymous amino acid changes we have also identified a number of SNPs that cause potential ISCMs in these strains, one of which we show is associated with a [PSI(+)]-dependent stress resistance phenotype in strain G600. We identified twenty-two potential ISCMs in strain 74-D694, present in genes involved in a variety of cellular processes including nitrogen metabolism, signal transduction and oxidative stress response. The presence of ISCMs in a subset of these genes provides possible explanations for previously identified [PSI(+)]-associated phenotypes in this strain. A comparison of ISCMs in strains G600 and 74-D694 with S. cerevisiae strains sequenced as part of the Saccharomyces Genome Resequencing Project (SGRP) shows much variation in the generation of strain-specific ISCMs and suggests this process is possible under complex genetic control. Additionally we have identified a major difference in the abilities of strains G600 and 74-D694 to grow at elevated temperatures. However, this difference appears unrelated to novel SNPs identified in strain 74-D694 present in proteins involved in the heat shock response, but may be attributed to other SNP differences in genes previously identified as playing a role in high temperature growth.

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