Natural isolates of Saccharomyces cerevisiae display complex genetic variation in sporulation efficiency

Justin P. Gerke, Christina T.L. Chen, Barak A. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sporulation is a well-studied process executed with varying efficiency by diverse yeast strains. We developed a high-throughput method to quantify yeast sporulation efficiency and used this technique to analyze a line cross between a high-efficiency oak tree isolate and a low-efficiency wine strain. We find that natural variation in sporulation efficiency mirrors natural variation in higher eukaryotes: it shows divergence between isolated populations, arises from loci of major effect, and exhibits epistasis. We show that the lower sporulation efficiency of the wine strain results from a failure to initiate sporulation, rather than from slower kinetics of meiosis and spore formation. The two strains differentially regulate many genes involved in aerobic respiration, an essential pathway for sporulation, such that the oak tree strain appears better poised to generate energy from this pathway. We also report that a polymorphism in RME1 that affects sporulation efficiency in laboratory strains also cosegregates with significant phenotypic differences in our cross of natural isolates. These results lay the groundwork for the study of variation in sporulation efficiency among natural isolates of yeast.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-997
Number of pages13
JournalGenetics
Volume174
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

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