Defining how organisms respond to environmental change has always been an important step toward understanding their adaptive capacity and physiology. Variation in transcription during stress has been widely described in model species, especially in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which helped to shape general rules regarding how cells cope with environmental constraints, as well as to decipher the functions of many genes. Comparison of the environmental stress response (ESR) across species is essential to obtaining better insight into the common and species-specific features of stress defense. In this context, we explored the transcriptional landscape of the yeast Lachancea kluyveri (formerly Saccharomyces kluyveri) in response to diverse stresses, using RNA sequencing. We investigated variation in gene expression and observed a link between genetic plasticity and environmental sensitivity. We identified the ESR genes in this species and compared them to those already found in S. cerevisiae. We observed common features between the two species, as well as divergence in the regulatory networks involved. Of interest, some changes were related to differences in species lifestyle. Thus we were able to decipher how adaptation to stress has evolved among different yeast species. Finally, by analyzing patterns of coexpression, we were able to propose potential biological functions for 42% of genes and also annotate 301 genes for which no function could be assigned by homology. This large data set allowed for the characterization of the evolution of gene regulation and provides an efficient tool for assessing gene function.
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© 2016 Brion et al.