Quantitative single-cell analysis of S. cerevisiae using a microfluidic live-cell imaging platform

Genome-wide manipulations and measurements have made huge progress over the last decades. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a well-studied eukaryotic model organism, homologous recombination allows for systematic deletion or alteration of a majority of its genes. Important products of these manipulation techniques are two libraries of modified strains: A deletion library consisting of all viable knockout mutants, and a GFP library in which 4159 proteins are successfully tagged with GFP. In addition, the development of a method that allows for the systematic construction of double mutants led to a virtually infinite number of potential strains of interest. These advancements in combinatorial biology need to be matched by methods of data measurement and analysis. In order to simultaneously observe the spatio-temporal dynamics of thousands of strains from the GFP library, Dénervaud et al. developed a microfluidic platform that allows for parallel imaging of 1152 strains in a single experiment. On this platform, strains can be grown and monitored in a controllable environment for several days, which results in the imaging of several millions of cells during one experiment. To objectively and quantitatively analyze this immense amount of information, we implemented an image analysis pipeline, which can extract experiment-wide information on single-cell protein abundance and subcellular localization. The construction of a supervised classifier to quantify localization information on a single cell level is a new approach and was invaluable to detect dynamic localization changes within the proteome. Using five different stress conditions, we gained insight into temporal changes of abundance and localization of multiple proteins. For example, we found that while localization changes can often be fast and transient, long-term response of a cell is usually enabled by changes in abundance. This shows a well-orchestrated response of a cell to external stimuli. To extend knowledge about cellular mechanisms, we used our microfluidic platform for two separate screens, combining GFP-reporter with additional deletion mutants. The advantage of our platform in comparison to more common approaches lies in its simultaneous measurement of fluorescence and phenotypic information on cell size and growth. For each deletion, we can quantify not only its influence onto the respective GFP-reporter under changing conditions, but also its effect on cell growth and size. We showed that it is advantageous to combine this information, as it allows pointing out possible underlying mechanisms of gene network regulations. In a first screen we investigated the behavior of several gene networks upon UV irradiation damage. We were able to show that four gene deletions influenced the localization of ribonucleotide-diphosphate reductase (Rnr4p). A second screen was designed to find genes that influence the induction of the galactose network. This screen uses more than 500 deletions of genes mostly related to chromatin in combination with two different reporter strains. A main focus of this study was the inheritance of memory during galactose reinduction. We found several previously unknown genes that potentially influence either induction or reinduction and were picked as candidates for further inheritance studies. Our microfluidic platform allows for unprecedented studies of proteomes in flux. [...]

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