Most genetic variants associated with disease occur within regulatory regions of the genome, underscoring the importance of defining the mechanisms underlying differences in regulation of gene expression between individuals. We discovered a pair of co-regulated, divergently oriented transcripts, AQY2 and ncFRE6, that are expressed in one strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, ∑1278b, but not in another, S288c. By combining classical genetics techniques with high-throughput sequencing, we identified a trans-acting single nucleotide polymorphism within the transcription factor RIM101 that causes the background-dependent expression of both transcripts. Subsequent RNA-seq experiments revealed that RIM101 regulates many more targets in S288c than in ∑1278b and that deletion of RIM101 in both backgrounds abrogates the majority of differential expression between the strains. Strikingly, only three transcripts undergo a significant change in expression after swapping RIM101 alleles between backgrounds, implying that the differences in the RIM101 allele lead to a remarkably focused transcriptional response. However, hundreds of RIM101-dependent targets undergo a subtle but consistent shift in expression in the S288c RIM101-swapped strain, but not its ∑1278b counterpart. We conclude that ∑1278b may harbor a variant(s) that buffers against widespread transcriptional dysregulation upon introduction of a non-native RIM101 allele, emphasizing the importance of accounting for genetic background when assessing the impact of a regulatory variant.
Read, Timothy; Richmond, Phillip A; and Dowell, Robin D, "A trans-acting Variant within the Transcription Factor RIM101 Interacts with Genetic Background to Determine its Regulatory Capacity." (2016). Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Faculty Contributions. 6.