Metabolic functions of duplicate genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Genome Res. 2005 Oct;15(10):1421-30. doi: 10.1101/gr.3992505.


The roles of duplicate genes and their contribution to the phenomenon of enzyme dispensability are a central issue in molecular and genome evolution. A comprehensive classification of the mechanisms that may have led to their preservation, however, is currently lacking. In a systems biology approach, we classify here back-up, regulatory, and gene dosage functions for the 105 duplicate gene families of Saccharomyces cerevisiae metabolism. The key tool was the reconciled genome-scale metabolic model iLL672, which was based on the older iFF708. Computational predictions of all metabolic gene knockouts were validated with the experimentally determined phenotypes of the entire singleton yeast library of 4658 mutants under five environmental conditions. iLL672 correctly identified 96%-98% and 73%-80% of the viable and lethal singleton phenotypes, respectively. Functional roles for each duplicate family were identified by integrating the iLL672-predicted in silico duplicate knockout phenotypes, genome-scale carbon-flux distributions, singleton mutant phenotypes, and network topology analysis. The results provide no evidence for a particular dominant function that maintains duplicate genes in the genome. In particular, the back-up function is not favored by evolutionary selection because duplicates do not occur more frequently in essential reactions than singleton genes. Instead of a prevailing role, multigene-encoded enzymes cover different functions. Thus, at least for metabolism, persistence of the paralog fraction in the genome can be better explained with an array of different, often overlapping functional roles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gene Duplication*
  • Genes, Fungal*
  • Genes, Lethal
  • Genes, Regulator*
  • Phenotype
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*