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The genomics of yeast responses to environmental stress and starvation

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Unicellular organisms such as yeast have evolved to survive constant fluctuations in their external surroundings by rapidly adapting their internal systems to meet the challenges of each new environment. One aspect of this cellular adaptation is the reorganization of genomic expression to the program required for growth in each environment. The reprogramming of genomic expression can be unveiled using DNA microarrays, which measure the relative transcript abundance of essentially every gene in an organism's genome. Characterizing environmentally triggered gene expression changes provides insights into when, where, and how each gene is expressed and offers a glimpse at the physiological response of the cells to changes in their surroundings. This review will focus on the genomic expression responses of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to diverse environmental changes, highlighting some of the themes that have emerged from the collection of published yeast genomic expression studies. The results of these studies present insights as to how yeast cells sense and respond to each new environment, and suggest mechanisms that this organism uses to survive stressful environmental changes.

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Gasch, A.P., Werner-Washburne, M. The genomics of yeast responses to environmental stress and starvation. Funct Integr Genomics 2, 181–192 (2002).

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