First-step Mutations during Adaptation to Thermal Stress Shift the Expression of Thousands of Genes Back toward the Pre-stressed State

First-step Mutations during Adaptation to Thermal Stress Shift the Expression of Thousands of Genes Back toward the Pre-stressed State

Alejandra Rodriguez-Verdugo, Olivier Tenaillon, Brandon Gaut
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/022905

The temporal change of phenotypes during the adaptive process remain largely unexplored, as do the genetic changes that affect these phenotypic changes. Here we focused on three mutations that rose to high frequency in the early stages of adaptation within 12 Escherichia coli populations subjected to thermal stress (42°C). All of the mutations were in the rpoB gene, which encodes the RNA polymerase beta subunit. For each mutation, we measured the growth curves and gene expression (mRNAseq) of clones at 42°C. We also compared growth and gene expression to their ancestor under unstressed (37°C) and stressed conditions (42°C). Each of the three mutations changed the expression of hundreds of genes and conferred large fitness advantages, apparently through the restoration of global gene expression from the stressed towards the pre-stressed state. Finally, we compared the phenotypic characteristics of one mutant, I572L, to two high-temperature adapted clones that have this mutation plus additional background mutations. The background mutations increased fitness, but they did not substantially change gene expression. We conclude that early mutations in a global transcriptional regulator cause extensive changes in gene expression, many of which are likely under positive selection for their effect in restoring the pre-stress physiology.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s