Refining current knowledge on the yeast FLR1 regulatory network by combined experimental and computational approaches

M C Teixeira, P J Dias, P T Monteiro, A Sala, A L Oliveira, A T Freitas, I Sá-Correia
Molecular BioSystems 2010, 6 (12): 2471-81
Multidrug resistance is often the result of the activation of drug efflux pumps able to catalyze the extrusion of the toxic compound to the outer medium, this activation being frequently controlled at the transcriptional level. Transcriptional regulation in the model eukaryote S. cerevisiae is the result of the interaction and cross-talk between networks of transcription factors. This is the case of the transcriptional activation of the FLR1 gene occurring in response to stress induced by the agricultural fungicide mancozeb in yeast. FLR1 up-regulation depends on the integrated action of Yap1, a key regulator of oxidative stress response, Pdr3 and Yrr1, two of the transcription factors controlling multidrug resistance, and Rpn4, a regulator of proteasome gene expression, which interplay to produce the observed transcriptional up-shift. Based on the expression profiles of FLR1, YAP1, PDR3, YRR1 and RPN4 registered during yeast adaptation to stress induced by mancozeb and using a qualitative modeling approach, a model of the FLR1 regulatory network was built, and the response of S. cerevisiae to mancozeb stress was simulated. The use of a qualitative approach is especially useful to overcome the lack of enough quantitative data on kinetic parameters and molecular concentrations, permitting the immediate focus on the qualitative behavior of the system. This Systems Biology approach allowed the identification of essential features of the early yeast response to fungicide stress. The resulting model allowed the formulation of new hypotheses, in a quick and cost effective manner, on the qualitative behavior of the system following mancozeb challenge, some of which were validated experimentally. In particular, Pdr3 and Yrr1 were shown to directly control FLR1 up-regulation in mancozeb-challenged cells, based on the analysis of the effect of the inactivation of their putative binding sites in the FLR1 promoter. Furthermore, the inter-dependent role of Yap1 and Yrr1 in the regulation of PDR3 and RPN4 was brought to light, this joint activity possibly being extensible to eight other genes involved in multidrug resistance. The FLR1 network structure was revised, based on the comparison between simulated and experimental gene expression data in the double deletion mutant strains Δyrr1Δpdr3 and Δyrr1Δrpn4, and an additional, still unidentified, transcription factor was found to be required to fully explain the behavior of the network.

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