The Role of the Allantoin Pathway in Plastic Adherence in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

The allantoin pathway is crucial for nitrogen degradation in Saccharomyces yeast. It has been discovered to be a fast-evolving pathway and has many applications for natural yeast strains. Allantoin is key for growth of yeast on different media, specifically natural substrate (Treu et al, 2014).  Allantoin utilization is encoded by a cluster (similar to an operon) of genes called the DAL genes. Previous research in the lab has indicated that the DAL genes are involved in plastic adherence in S. cerevisiae. Plastic adherence is a social phenotype in yeast, suggesting that it is evolutionary advantageous for yeast cells to form mats, floccs, and biofilms in order to fight against harsh environments and competitors (Deschaine et al, 2017). This connection implies that the the allantoin pathway, a typically biochemical degradation pathway, also has a role in social phenotypes. Globally available genomic data will be used to identify variation in the DAL cluster and its regulators. Gene-knockout analysis will be employed to determine the specific connection between allantoin, the DAL genes, and plastic adherence.

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