Loss of heterozygosity results in rapid but variable genome homogenization across genetic backgrounds in yeast

  1. Abhishek Dutta
  2. Fabien Dutreux
  3. Joseph Schacherer  Is a corresponding author
  1. Université de Strasbourg, France
  2. Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, France


The dynamics and diversity of the appearance of genetic variants play an essential role in the evolution of the genome and the shaping of biodiversity. Recent population-wide genome sequencing surveys have highlighted the importance of loss-of-heterozygosity (LOH) events and have shown that they are a neglected part of the genetic diversity landscape. To assess the extent, variability, and spectrum, we explored the accumulation of LOH events in 169 heterozygous diploid Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutation accumulation lines across nine genetic backgrounds. In total, we detected a large set of 22,828 LOH events across distinct genetic backgrounds with a heterozygous level ranging from 0.1 to 1%. LOH events are very frequent with a rate consistently much higher than the mutation rate, showing their importance for genome evolution. We observed that the interstitial LOH (I-LOH) events, resulting in internal short LOH tracts, were much frequent (n = 19,660) than the terminal LOH (T-LOH) events, i.e., tracts extending to the end of the chromosome (n = 3,168). However, the spectrum, the rate, and the fraction of the genome under LOH vary across genetic backgrounds. Interestingly, we observed that the more the ancestors were heterozygous, the more they accumulated T-LOH events. In addition, frequent short I-LOH tracts are a signature of the lines derived from hybrids with low spore fertility. Finally, we found lines showing almost complete homozygotization during vegetative progression. Overall, our results highlight that the variable dynamics of the LOH accumulation across distinct genetic backgrounds might lead to rapid differential genome evolution during vegetative growth.

Data availability

Sequence data are available from National Centre for Biotechnology Information Sequence Read Archive under accession number: PRJEB43186.

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Abhishek Dutta

    Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-2256-6956
  2. Fabien Dutreux

    Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Joseph Schacherer

    Department of Genetics, Genomics and Microbiology, Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, Strasbourg, France
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-6606-6884


European Research Council (772505)

  • Joseph Schacherer

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Antonis Rokas, Vanderbilt University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: May 14, 2021
  2. Accepted: June 11, 2021
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: June 23, 2021 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: June 30, 2021 (version 2)


© 2021, Dutta et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


  • 1,563
    Page views
  • 162
  • 6

Article citation count generated by polling the highest count across the following sources: Crossref, PubMed Central, Scopus.

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)

Cite this article (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

  1. Abhishek Dutta
  2. Fabien Dutreux
  3. Joseph Schacherer
Loss of heterozygosity results in rapid but variable genome homogenization across genetic backgrounds in yeast
eLife 10:e70339.

Further reading

    1. Cell Biology
    2. Genetics and Genomics
    Heyun Guo et al.
    Research Article

    In the first meiotic cell division, proper segregation of chromosomes in most organisms depends on chiasmata, exchanges of continuity between homologous chromosomes that originate from the repair of programmed double-strand breaks (DSBs) catalyzed by the Spo11 endonuclease. Since DSBs can lead to irreparable damage in germ cells, while chromosomes lacking DSBs also lack chiasmata, the number of DSBs must be carefully regulated to be neither too high nor too low. Here, we show that in Caenorhabditis elegans, meiotic DSB levels are controlled by the phosphoregulation of DSB-1, a homolog of the yeast Spo11 cofactor Rec114, by the opposing activities of PP4PPH-4.1 phosphatase and ATRATL-1 kinase. Increased DSB-1 phosphorylation in pph-4.1 mutants correlates with reduction in DSB formation, while prevention of DSB-1 phosphorylation drastically increases the number of meiotic DSBs both in pph-4.1 mutants as well as in the wild type background. C. elegans and its close relatives also possess a diverged paralog of DSB-1, called DSB-2, and loss of dsb-2 is known to reduce DSB formation in oocytes with increasing age. We show that the proportion of the phosphorylated, and thus inactivated, form of DSB-1 increases with age and upon loss of DSB-2, while non-phosphorylatable DSB-1 rescues the age-dependent decrease in DSBs in dsb-2 mutants. These results suggest that DSB-2 evolved in part to compensate for the inactivation of DSB-1 through phosphorylation, to maintain levels of DSBs in older animals. Our work shows that PP4PPH-4.1, ATRATL-1, and DSB-2 act in concert with DSB-1 to promote optimal DSB levels throughout the reproductive lifespan.

    1. Genetics and Genomics
    2. Microbiology and Infectious Disease
    Liselot Dewachter et al.
    Research Article

    Antibiotic resistance in the important opportunistic human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae is on the rise. This is particularly problematic in the case of the β-lactam antibiotic amoxicillin, which is the first-line therapy. It is therefore crucial to uncover targets that would kill or resensitize amoxicillin-resistant pneumococci. To do so, we developed a genome-wide, single-cell based, gene silencing screen using CRISPR interference called sCRilecs-seq (subsets of CRISPR interference libraries extracted by fluorescence activated cell sorting coupled to next generation sequencing). Since amoxicillin affects growth and division, sCRilecs-seq was used to identify targets that are responsible for maintaining proper cell size. Our screen revealed that downregulation of the mevalonate pathway leads to extensive cell elongation. Further investigation into this phenotype indicates that it is caused by a reduced availability of cell wall precursors at the site of cell wall synthesis due to a limitation in the production of undecaprenyl phosphate (Und-P), the lipid carrier that is responsible for transporting these precursors across the cell membrane. The data suggest that, whereas peptidoglycan synthesis continues even with reduced Und-P levels, cell constriction is specifically halted. We successfully exploited this knowledge to create a combination treatment strategy where the FDA-approved drug clomiphene, an inhibitor of Und-P synthesis, is paired up with amoxicillin. Our results show that clomiphene potentiates the antimicrobial activity of amoxicillin and that combination therapy resensitizes amoxicillin-resistant S. pneumoniae. These findings could provide a starting point to develop a solution for the increasing amount of hard-to-treat amoxicillin-resistant pneumococcal infections.