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Eberly College of Arts and Sciences




Cellular metabolism can change the potency of a chemical’s tumorigenicity. 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide (4NQO) is a tumorigenic drug widely used on animal models for cancer research. Polymorphisms of the transcription factor Yrr1 confer different levels of resistance to 4NQO in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To study how different Yrr1 alleles regulate gene expression leading to resistance, transcriptomes of three isogenic S. cerevisiae strains carrying different Yrr1 alleles were profiled via RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) and chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with sequencing (ChIP-Seq) in the presence and absence of 4NQO. In response to 4NQO, all alleles of Yrr1 drove the expression of SNQ2 (a multidrug transporter), which was highest in the presence of 4NQO resistance-conferring alleles, and overexpression of SNQ2 alone was sufficient to over- come 4NQO-sensitive growth. Using shape metrics to refine the ChIP-Seq peaks, Yrr1 strongly associated with three loci including SNQ2. In addition to a known Yrr1 target SNG1, Yrr1 also bound upstream of RPL35B; however, overexpression of these genes did not confer 4NQO resistance. RNA-Seq data also implicated nucleotide synthesis pathways including the de novo purine pathway, and the ribonuclease reductase path- ways were downregulated in response to 4NQO. Conversion of a 4NQO-sensitive allele to a 4NQO-resistant allele by a single point mutation mimicked the 4NQO-resistant allele in phenotype, and while the 4NQO resistant allele increased the expression of the ADE genes in the de novo purine biosynthetic pathway, the mutant Yrr1 increased expression of ADE genes even in the absence of 4NQO. These same ADE genes were only increased in the wild-type alleles in the presence of 4NQO, indicating that the point mutation activated Yrr1 to upregulate a pathway normally only activated in response to stress. The various Yrr1 alleles also influenced growth on different carbon sources by altering the function of the mitochondria. Hence, the complement to 4NQO resistance was poor growth on nonfermentable carbon sources, which in turn varied depending on the allele of Yrr1 expressed in the isogenic yeast. The oxidation state of the yeast affected the 4NQO toxicity by altering the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by cellular metabolism. The integra- tion of RNA-Seq and ChIP-Seq elucidated how Yrr1 regulates global gene transcription in response to 4NQO and how various Yrr1 alleles confer differential resistance to 4NQO. This study provides guidance for further investigation into how Yrr1 regulates cellular responses to 4NQO, as well as transcriptomic resources for further analysis of transcription factor variation on carbon source utilization.

Source Citation

Rong-Mullins, X., Ayers, M. C., Summers, M., & Gallagher, J. E. G. (2017). Transcriptional Profiling of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Reveals the Impact of Variation of a Single Transcription Factor on Differential Gene Expression in 4NQO, Fermentable, and Nonfermentable Carbon Sources. G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, 8(2), 607–619.


Copyright © 2018 Rong-Mullins et al. doi: Manuscript received August 8, 2017; accepted for publication December 4, 2017; published Early Online December 5, 2017. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Supplemental material is available online at doi:10.1534/g3.117.300138/-/DC1.

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