Biology | Life Sciences
As organisms adaptively evolve to a new environment, selection results in the improvement of certain traits, bringing about an increase in fitness. Trade-offs may result from this process if function in other traits is reduced in alternative environments either by the adaptive mutations themselves or by the accumulation of neutral mutations elsewhere in the genome. Though the cost of adaptation has long been a fundamental premise in evolutionary biology, the existence of and molecular basis for trade-offs in alternative environments are not well-established. Here, we show that yeast evolved under aerobic glucose limitation show surprisingly few trade-offs when cultured in other carbon-limited environments, under either aerobic or anaerobic conditions. However, while adaptive clones consistently outperform their common ancestor under carbon limiting conditions, in some cases they perform less well than their ancestor in aerobic, carbon-rich environments, indicating that trade-offs can appear when resources are non-limiting. To more deeply understand how adaptation to one condition affects performance in others, we determined steady-state transcript abundance of adaptive clones grown under diverse conditions and performed whole-genome sequencing to identify mutations that distinguish them from one another and from their common ancestor. We identified mutations in genes involved in glucose sensing, signaling, and transport, which, when considered in the context of the expression data, help explain their adaptation to carbon poor environments. However, different sets of mutations in each independently evolved clone indicate that multiple mutational paths lead to the adaptive phenotype. We conclude that yeasts that evolve high fitness under one resource-limiting condition also become more fit under other resource-limiting conditions, but may pay a fitness cost when those same resources are abundant.
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Wenger, Jared W.; Piotrowski, Jeffrey; Nagarajan, Saisubramanian; Chiotti, Kami; Sherlock, Gavin; and Rosenzweig, Frank, "Hunger Artists: Yeast Adapted to Carbon Limitation Show Trade-Offs Under Carbon Sufficiency" (2011). Biological Sciences Faculty Publications. 49.