Measuring mRNA levels over time during the yeast S. cerevisiae hypoxic response

Stephen D. Willis, A. K.M.Nawshad Hossian, Nathan Evans, Mark J. Hickman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Complex changes in gene expression typically mediate a large portion of a cellular response. Each gene may change expression with unique kinetics as the gene is regulated by the particular timing of one of many stimuli, signaling pathways or secondary effects. In order to capture the entire gene expression response to hypoxia in the yeast S. cerevisiae, RNA-seq analysis was used to monitor the mRNA levels of all genes at specific times after exposure to hypoxia. Hypoxia was established by growing cells in ~100% N2 gas. Importantly, unlike other hypoxic studies, ergosterol and unsaturated fatty acids were not added to the media because these metabolites affect gene expression. Time points were chosen in the range of 0 - 4 h after hypoxia because that period captures the major changes in gene expression. At each time point, mid-log hypoxic cells were quickly filtered and frozen, limiting exposure to O2 and concomitant changes in gene expression. Total RNA was extracted from cells and used to enrich for mRNA, which was then converted to cDNA. From this cDNA, multiplex libraries were created and eight or more samples were sequenced in one lane of a next-generation sequencer. A post-sequencing pipeline is described, which includes quality base trimming, read mapping and determining the number of reads per gene. DESeq2 within the R statistical environment was used to identify genes that change significantly at any one of the hypoxic time points. Analysis of three biological replicates revealed high reproducibility, genes of differing kinetics and a large number of expected O2-regulated genes. These methods can be used to study how the cells of various organisms respond to hypoxia over time and adapted to study gene expression during other cellular responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere56226
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number126
StatePublished - Aug 10 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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