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      Quantitative Fitness Analysis Shows That NMD Proteins and Many Other Protein Complexes Suppress or Enhance Distinct Telomere Cap Defects

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          To better understand telomere biology in budding yeast, we have performed systematic suppressor/enhancer analyses on yeast strains containing a point mutation in the essential telomere capping gene CDC13 ( cdc13-1) or containing a null mutation in the DNA damage response and telomere capping gene YKU70 ( yku70Δ). We performed Quantitative Fitness Analysis (QFA) on thousands of yeast strains containing mutations affecting telomere-capping proteins in combination with a library of systematic gene deletion mutations. To perform QFA, we typically inoculate 384 separate cultures onto solid agar plates and monitor growth of each culture by photography over time. The data are fitted to a logistic population growth model; and growth parameters, such as maximum growth rate and maximum doubling potential, are deduced. QFA reveals that as many as 5% of systematic gene deletions, affecting numerous functional classes, strongly interact with telomere capping defects. We show that, while Cdc13 and Yku70 perform complementary roles in telomere capping, their genetic interaction profiles differ significantly. At least 19 different classes of functionally or physically related proteins can be identified as interacting with cdc13-1, yku70Δ, or both. Each specific genetic interaction informs the roles of individual gene products in telomere biology. One striking example is with genes of the nonsense-mediated RNA decay (NMD) pathway which, when disabled, suppress the conditional cdc13-1 mutation but enhance the null yku70Δ mutation. We show that the suppressing/enhancing role of the NMD pathway at uncapped telomeres is mediated through the levels of Stn1, an essential telomere capping protein, which interacts with Cdc13 and recruitment of telomerase to telomeres. We show that increased Stn1 levels affect growth of cells with telomere capping defects due to cdc13-1 and yku70Δ. QFA is a sensitive, high-throughput method that will also be useful to understand other aspects of microbial cell biology.

          Author Summary

          Telomeres, specialized structures at the end of linear chromosomes, ensure that chromosome ends are not mistakenly treated as DNA double-strand breaks. Defects in the telomere cap contribute to ageing and cancer. In yeast, defects in telomere capping proteins can cause telomeres to behave like double-strand breaks. To better understand the telomere and responses to capping failure, we have combined a systematic yeast gene deletion library with mutations affecting important yeast telomere capping proteins, Cdc13 or Yku70. Quantitative Fitness Analysis (QFA) was used to accurately measure the fitness of thousands of different yeast strains containing telomere capping defects and additional deletion mutations. Interestingly, we find that many gene deletions suppress one type of telomere capping defect while enhancing another. Through QFA, we can begin to define the roles of different gene products in contributing to different aspects of the telomere cap. Strikingly, mutations in nonsense-mediated mRNA decay pathways, which degrade many RNA molecules, suppress the cdc13-1 defect while enhancing the yku70Δ defect. QFA is widely applicable and will be useful for understanding other aspects of yeast cell biology.

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          Most cited references 48

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          The genetic landscape of a cell.

          A genome-scale genetic interaction map was constructed by examining 5.4 million gene-gene pairs for synthetic genetic interactions, generating quantitative genetic interaction profiles for approximately 75% of all genes in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A network based on genetic interaction profiles reveals a functional map of the cell in which genes of similar biological processes cluster together in coherent subsets, and highly correlated profiles delineate specific pathways to define gene function. The global network identifies functional cross-connections between all bioprocesses, mapping a cellular wiring diagram of pleiotropy. Genetic interaction degree correlated with a number of different gene attributes, which may be informative about genetic network hubs in other organisms. We also demonstrate that extensive and unbiased mapping of the genetic landscape provides a key for interpretation of chemical-genetic interactions and drug target identification.
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            Systematic genetic analysis with ordered arrays of yeast deletion mutants.

            In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, more than 80% of the approximately 6200 predicted genes are nonessential, implying that the genome is buffered from the phenotypic consequences of genetic perturbation. To evaluate function, we developed a method for systematic construction of double mutants, termed synthetic genetic array (SGA) analysis, in which a query mutation is crossed to an array of approximately 4700 deletion mutants. Inviable double-mutant meiotic progeny identify functional relationships between genes. SGA analysis of genes with roles in cytoskeletal organization (BNI1, ARP2, ARC40, BIM1), DNA synthesis and repair (SGS1, RAD27), or uncharacterized functions (BBC1, NBP2) generated a network of 291 interactions among 204 genes. Systematic application of this approach should produce a global map of gene function.
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              Induction of autophagy by spermidine promotes longevity.

              Ageing results from complex genetically and epigenetically programmed processes that are elicited in part by noxious or stressful events that cause programmed cell death. Here, we report that administration of spermidine, a natural polyamine whose intracellular concentration declines during human ageing, markedly extended the lifespan of yeast, flies and worms, and human immune cells. In addition, spermidine administration potently inhibited oxidative stress in ageing mice. In ageing yeast, spermidine treatment triggered epigenetic deacetylation of histone H3 through inhibition of histone acetyltransferases (HAT), suppressing oxidative stress and necrosis. Conversely, depletion of endogenous polyamines led to hyperacetylation, generation of reactive oxygen species, early necrotic death and decreased lifespan. The altered acetylation status of the chromatin led to significant upregulation of various autophagy-related transcripts, triggering autophagy in yeast, flies, worms and human cells. Finally, we found that enhanced autophagy is crucial for polyamine-induced suppression of necrosis and enhanced longevity.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS Genet
                PLoS Genetics
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                April 2011
                April 2011
                7 April 2011
                : 7
                : 4
                [1 ]Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University Medical School, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
                [2 ]Centre for Integrated Systems Biology of Ageing and Nutrition, Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
                [3 ]Crucible Laboratory, Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
                [4 ]School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
                [5 ]School of Mathematics and Statistics, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
                Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, United States of America
                Author notes

                ¤: Current address: Health Protection Agency North East, Citygate, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

                Conceived and designed the experiments: SGA EMH CL MY KC APB HPN LM DJW DL. Performed the experiments: SGA EMH CL MY KC APB HPN LM AC. Analyzed the data: SGA EMH CL MY KC APB HPN AY DJW DL. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: LM MT ALL AW DJW. Wrote the paper: SGA EMH CL DJW DL.

                Addinall et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Page count
                Pages: 16
                Research Article
                Computational Biology/Systems Biology
                Genetics and Genomics/Chromosome Biology
                Genetics and Genomics/Functional Genomics



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