Novel low abundance and transient RNAs in yeast revealed by tiling microarrays and ultra high-throughput sequencing are not conserved across closely related yeast species

PLoS Genet. 2008 Dec;4(12):e1000299. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000299. Epub 2008 Dec 19.


A complete description of the transcriptome of an organism is crucial for a comprehensive understanding of how it functions and how its transcriptional networks are controlled, and may provide insights into the organism's evolution. Despite the status of Saccharomyces cerevisiae as arguably the most well-studied model eukaryote, we still do not have a full catalog or understanding of all its genes. In order to interrogate the transcriptome of S. cerevisiae for low abundance or rapidly turned over transcripts, we deleted elements of the RNA degradation machinery with the goal of preferentially increasing the relative abundance of such transcripts. We then used high-resolution tiling microarrays and ultra high-throughput sequencing (UHTS) to identify, map, and validate unannotated transcripts that are more abundant in the RNA degradation mutants relative to wild-type cells. We identified 365 currently unannotated transcripts, the majority presumably representing low abundance or short-lived RNAs, of which 185 are previously unknown and unique to this study. It is likely that many of these are cryptic unstable transcripts (CUTs), which are rapidly degraded and whose function(s) within the cell are still unclear, while others may be novel functional transcripts. Of the 185 transcripts we identified as novel to our study, greater than 80 percent come from regions of the genome that have lower conservation scores amongst closely related yeast species than 85 percent of the verified ORFs in S. cerevisiae. Such regions of the genome have typically been less well-studied, and by definition transcripts from these regions will distinguish S. cerevisiae from these closely related species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • RNA, Fungal / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Yeasts / genetics


  • RNA, Fungal

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE11802