Natural variation and evolved trade-offs in yeast carbon metabolism
- The processes by which the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae metabolizes carbon sources by both fermentation and respiration have been studied for more than a century. Yeast metabolism has been used both industrially, for the production of important molecules such as ethanol, and as a model for basic scientific research. Applied scientists have studied yeast metabolism to create and optimize novel metabolic phenotypes not naturally found in Saccharomyces yeasts. In parallel, basic scientists have used yeast as a model to understand fundamental processes such as evolutionary adaptation, as well as the pathways of carbon metabolism themselves. There are many unanswered questions in both of these fields, some of which I have addressed in this work. With respect to the industrial importance of yeast, I asked whether there are naturally existing Saccharomyces yeasts that can metabolize the five-carbon sugars important for lignocellulosic ethanol production (such as xylose), and, if so, what is the genetic basis for their phenotypes? Having characterized natural genetic variation in xylose metabolism, I also wanted to understand something more fundamental about how carbon metabolism can adapt, including the molecular nature of adaptations to selection on a limiting carbon source. Specifically, I asked what is the niche breadth of, and are there genetic trade-offs in, yeast that have been evolved under glucose-limitation? I have used a combination of classical genetics, physiology, and high-throughput genomics to answer these two questions. I have discovered novel xylose-utilizing Saccharomyces yeasts and have shed considerable light on the genetic basis for their phenotypes. In addition, I have discovered at least one trade-off for adaptation to limiting glucose, namely that amplification of the hexose-transporter genes HXT6 and HXT7 causes reduced fitness in carbon-rich environments. These two projects highlight two major spheres of Saccharomyces research, and they provide key answers to outstanding questions in both fields.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Wenger, Jared William
|Stanford University, Department of Genetics
|Spormann, Alfred M
|Spormann, Alfred M
|Statement of responsibility
|Jared William Wenger.
|Submitted to the Department of Genetics.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2011.
- © 2011 by Jared William Wenger
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