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Comparative and Functional Genomics
Volume 2, Issue 3, Pages 124-142
Research Article

A Genomic Approach for the Identification and Classification of Genes Involved in Cell Wall Formation and Its Regulation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

1Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, Amsterdam, WV 1018, The Netherlands
2Departamento de Microbiologia II, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad Complutense, Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid E-28040, Spain
3Instituto de Microbiología Bioquímica, Departamento de Microbiología y Genética, CSIC/Universidad de Salamanca, Campus Miguel de Unamuno, Salamanca E-37007, Spain

Received 16 January 2001; Revised 5 April 2001; Accepted 9 April 2001

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Using a hierarchical approach, 620 non-essential single-gene yeast deletants generated by EUROFAN I were systematically screened for cell-wall-related phenotypes. By analyzing for altered sensitivity to the presence of Calcofluor white or SDS in the growth medium, altered sensitivity to sonication, or abnormal morphology, 145 (23%) mutants showing at least one cell wall-related phenotype were selected. These were screened further to identify genes potentially involved in either the biosynthesis, remodeling or coupling of cell wall macromolecules or genes involved in the overall regulation of cell wall construction and to eliminate those genes with a more general, pleiotropic effect. Ninety percent of the mutants selected from the primary tests showed additional cell wall-related phenotypes. When extrapolated to the entire yeast genome, these data indicate that over 1200 genes may directly or indirectly affect cell wall formation and its regulation. Twenty-one mutants with altered levels of β1,3-glucan synthase activity and five Calcofluor white-resistant mutants with altered levels of chitin synthase activities were found, indicating that the corresponding genes affect β1,3-glucan or chitin synthesis. By selecting for increased levels of specific cell wall components in the growth medium, we identified 13 genes that are possibly implicated in different steps of cell wall assembly. Furthermore, 14 mutants showed a constitutive activation of the cell wall integrity pathway, suggesting that they participate in the modulation of the pathway either directly acting as signaling components or by triggering the Slt2-dependent compensatory mechanism. In conclusion, our screening approach represents a comprehensive functional analysis on a genomic scale of gene products involved in various aspects of fungal cell wall formation.