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Gupta, Saumya; Radhakrishnan, Aparna; Nitin, Rachana; Raharja-Liu, Pandu; Lin, Gen; Steinmetz, Lars M.; Gagneur, Julien; Sinha, Himanshu (2016): Meiotic Interactors of a Mitotic Gene TAO3 Revealed by Functional Analysis of its Rare Variant. In: G3-Genes Genomes Genetics, Vol. 6, No. 8: pp. 2255-2263
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Studying the molecular consequences of rare genetic variants has the potential to identify novel and hitherto uncharacterized pathways causally contributing to phenotypic variation. Here, we characterize the functional consequences of a rare coding variant of TAO3, previously reported to contribute significantly to sporulation efficiency variation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. During mitosis, the common TAO3 allele interacts with CBK1-a conserved NDR kinase. Both TAO3 and CBK1 are components of the RAM signaling network that regulates cell separation and polarization during mitosis. We demonstrate that the role of the rare allele TAO3(4477C) in meiosis is distinct from its role in mitosis by being independent of ACE2-a RAM network target gene. By quantitatively measuring cell morphological dynamics, and expressing the TAO3(4477C) allele conditionally during sporulation, we show that TAO3 has an early role in meiosis. This early role of TAO3 coincides with entry of cells into meiotic division. Time-resolved transcriptome analyses during early sporulation identified regulators of carbon and lipid metabolic pathways as candidate mediators. We show experimentally that, during sporulation, the TAO3(4477C) allele interacts genetically with ERT1 and PIP2, regulators of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and gluconeogenesis metabolic pathways, respectively. We thus uncover a meiotic functional role for TAO3, and identify ERT1 and PIP2 as novel regulators of sporulation efficiency. Our results demonstrate that studying the causal effects of genetic variation on the underlying molecular network has the potential to provide a more extensive understanding of the pathways driving a complex trait.