Article

The metabolic background is a global player in Saccharomyces gene expression epistasis

  • Nature Microbiology volume 1, Article number: 15030 (2016)
  • doi:10.1038/nmicrobiol.2015.30
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Abstract

The regulation of gene expression in response to nutrient availability is fundamental to the genotype–phenotype relationship. The metabolic–genetic make-up of the cell, as reflected in auxotrophy, is hence likely to be a determinant of gene expression. Here, we address the importance of the metabolic–genetic background by monitoring transcriptome, proteome and metabolome in a repertoire of 16 Saccharomyces cerevisiae laboratory backgrounds, combinatorially perturbed in histidine, leucine, methionine and uracil biosynthesis. The metabolic background affected up to 85% of the coding genome. Suggesting widespread confounding, these transcriptional changes show, on average, 83% overlap between unrelated auxotrophs and 35% with previously published transcriptomes generated for non-metabolic gene knockouts. Background-dependent gene expression correlated with metabolic flux and acted, predominantly through masking or suppression, on 88% of transcriptional interactions epistatically. As a consequence, the deletion of the same metabolic gene in a different background could provoke an entirely different transcriptional response. Propagating to the proteome and scaling up at the metabolome, metabolic background dependencies reveal the prevalence of metabolism-dependent epistasis at all regulatory levels. Urging a fundamental change of the prevailing laboratory practice of using auxotrophs and nutrient supplemented media, these results reveal epistatic intertwining of metabolism with gene expression on the genomic scale.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank U. Sauer (ETH Zurich) for support with metabolite measurements and scientific discussions and M. Werber and S. Klages (Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics) for support with RNA sequencing analysis. The authors acknowledge the Wellcome Trust (RG 093735/Z/10/Z), the ERC (starting grant 260809), the Isaac Newton Trust (RG 68998) and the Darwin Trust of Edinburgh for a studentship for P.V.S. A.Z. is an EMBO fellow. M.R. is a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development and Wellcome-Beit Prize fellow.

Author information

Author notes

    • Mohammad Tauqeer Alam
    • , Aleksej Zelezniak
    •  & Michael Mülleder

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Department of Biochemistry and Cambridge Systems Biology Centre, University of Cambridge, 80 Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1GA, UK

    • Mohammad Tauqeer Alam
    • , Aleksej Zelezniak
    • , Michael Mülleder
    • , Pavel Shliaha
    • , Floriana Capuano
    • , Jakob Vowinckel
    • , Enrica Calvani
    • , Kathryn S. Lilley
    •  & Markus Ralser
  2. The Francis Crick Institute, Mill Hill Laboratory, London NW7 1AA, UK

    • Aleksej Zelezniak
    • , Elahe Radmaneshfar
    •  & Markus Ralser
  3. Cambridge Centre for Proteomics, Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, 80 Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1GA, UK

    • Pavel Shliaha
    •  & Kathryn S. Lilley
  4. European Molecular Biology Laboratory, European Bioinformatics Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SD, UK

    • Roland Schwarz
  5. Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Ihnestrasse 73, Berlin, Germany

    • Antje Krüger
    • , Steve Michel
    • , Stefan Börno
    •  & Bernd Timmermann
  6. Department of Molecular Systems Biology, Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland

    • Stefan Christen
  7. European Molecular Biology Laboratory, EMBL, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany

    • Kiran Raosaheb Patil

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Contributions

M.T.A., A.Z., R.S., E.R. and S.B. performed data analysis. M.M., P.S. and S.C. carried out raw data processing. M.M., P.S., F.C., J.V., A.K., E.C., S.M. and S.C. conducted the experiments. K.R.P., B.T., K.S.L. and M.R. conceived the study. M.R. wrote the first draft. M.T.A., A.Z. and M.R. wrote the paper. All authors contributed to preparing the final version.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Markus Ralser.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Notes 1,2 and Figures 1–11

Excel files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Data 1

    List of knock-out transcriptomes.

  2. 2.

    Supplementary Data 2

    Processed transcriptome, proteome and metabolome data, and epistasis values.