Reference: Zhang Z, et al. (2009) Positive selection for elevated gene expression noise in yeast. Mol Syst Biol 5:299

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Abstract


It is well known that the expression noise is lessened by natural selection for genes that are important for cell growth or are sensitive to dosage. In theory, expression noise can also be elevated by natural selection when noisy gene expression is advantageous. Here we analyze yeast genome-wide gene expression noise data and show that plasma-membrane transporters show significantly elevated expression noise after controlling all confounding factors. We propose a model that explains why and under what conditions elevated expression noise may be beneficial and subject to positive selection. Our model predicts and the simulation confirms that, under certain conditions, expression noise also increases the evolvability of gene expression by promoting the fixation of favorable expression level-altering mutations. Indeed, yeast genes with higher noise show greater between-strain and between-species divergences in expression, even when all confounding factors are excluded. Together, our theoretical model and empirical results suggest that, for yeast genes such as plasma-membrane transporters, elevated expression noise is advantageous, is subject to positive selection, and is a facilitator of adaptive gene expression evolution.

Reference Type
Journal Article | Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't | Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Authors
Zhang Z, Qian W, Zhang J
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