Functional and transcriptional profiling of non-coding RNAs in yeast reveal context-dependent phenotypes and in trans effects on the protein regulatory network

PLoS Genet. 2021 Jan 25;17(1):e1008761. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008761. eCollection 2021 Jan.


Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), including the more recently identified Stable Unannotated Transcripts (SUTs) and Cryptic Unstable Transcripts (CUTs), are increasingly being shown to play pivotal roles in the transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of genes in eukaryotes. Here, we carried out a large-scale screening of ncRNAs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and provide evidence for SUT and CUT function. Phenotypic data on 372 ncRNA deletion strains in 23 different growth conditions were collected, identifying ncRNAs responsible for significant cellular fitness changes. Transcriptome profiles were assembled for 18 haploid ncRNA deletion mutants and 2 essential ncRNA heterozygous deletants. Guided by the resulting RNA-seq data we analysed the genome-wide dysregulation of protein coding genes and non-coding transcripts. Novel functional ncRNAs, SUT125, SUT126, SUT035 and SUT532 that act in trans by modulating transcription factors were identified. Furthermore, we described the impact of SUTs and CUTs in modulating coding gene expression in response to different environmental conditions, regulating important biological process such as respiration (SUT125, SUT126, SUT035, SUT432), steroid biosynthesis (CUT494, SUT053, SUT468) or rRNA processing (SUT075 and snR30). Overall, these data capture and integrate the regulatory and phenotypic network of ncRNAs and protein-coding genes, providing genome-wide evidence of the impact of ncRNAs on cellular homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal / genetics
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / genetics*
  • Genome, Fungal
  • Haploidy
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Transcriptome / genetics*


  • RNA, Untranslated
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Transcription Factors