Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-5-2014

Department

Biology

Language

English

Publication Title

Genome Biology and Evolution

Abstract

Lignocellulosic plant material is a viable source of biomass to produce alternative energy including ethanol and other biofuels. However, several factors—including toxic byproducts from biomass pretreatment and poor fermentation of xylose and other pentose sugars—currently limit the efficiency of microbial biofuel production. To begin to understand the genetic basis of desirable traits, we characterized three strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae with robust growth in a pretreated lignocellulosic hydrolysate or tolerance to stress conditions relevant to industrial biofuel production, through genome and transcriptome sequencing analysis. All stress resistant strains were highly mosaic, suggesting that genetic admixture may contribute to novel allele combinations underlying these phenotypes. Strain-specific gene sets not found in the lab strain were functionally linked to the tolerances of particular strains. Furthermore, genes with signatures of evolutionary selection were enriched for functional categories important for stress resistance and included stress-responsive signaling factors. Comparison of the strains’ transcriptomic responses to heat and ethanol treatment—two stresses relevant to industrial bioethanol production—pointed to physiological processes that were related to particular stress resistance profiles. Many of the genotype-by-environment expression responses occurred at targets of transcription factors with signatures of positive selection, suggesting that these strains have undergone positive selection for stress tolerance. Our results generate new insights into potential mechanisms of tolerance to stresses relevant to biofuel production, including ethanol and heat, present a backdrop for further engineering, and provide glimpses into the natural variation of stress tolerance in wild yeast strains.

Comments

This published version is made available on Dickinson Scholar with the permission of the publisher. For more information on the published version, visit Oxford's Website.

© The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

DOI

10.1093/gbe/evu199

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