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G3 (Bethesda). 2014 Jul 24;4(9):1773-86. doi: 10.1534/g3.114.013250.

Ploidy-regulated variation in biofilm-related phenotypes in natural isolates of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195.
Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195


The ability of yeast to form biofilms contributes to better survival under stressful conditions. We see the impact of yeast biofilms and "flocs" (clumps) in human health and industry, where forming clumps enables yeast to act as a natural filter in brewing and forming biofilms enables yeast to remain virulent in cases of fungal infection. Despite the importance of biofilms in yeast natural isolates, the majority of our knowledge about yeast biofilm genetics comes from work with a few tractable laboratory strains. A new collection of sequenced natural isolates from the Saccharomyces Genome Resequencing Project enabled us to examine the breadth of biofilm-related phenotypes in geographically, ecologically, and genetically diverse strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We present a panel of 31 haploid and 24 diploid strains for which we have characterized six biofilm-related phenotypes: complex colony morphology, complex mat formation, flocculation, agar invasion, polystyrene adhesion, and psuedohyphal growth. Our results show that there is extensive phenotypic variation between and within strains, and that these six phenotypes are primarily uncorrelated or weakly correlated, with the notable exception of complex colony and complex mat formation. We also show that the phenotypic strength of these strains varies significantly depending on ploidy, and the diploid strains demonstrate both decreased and increased phenotypic strength with respect to their haploid counterparts. This is a more complex view of the impact of ploidy on biofilm-related phenotypes than previous work with laboratory strains has suggested, demonstrating the importance and enormous potential of working with natural isolates of yeast.


Saccharomyces cerevisiae; biofilm; flocculation; natural isolates

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