Nitrogen limitation reveals large reserves in metabolic and translational capacities of yeast

Rosemary Yu, Kate Campbell, Rui Pereira, Johan Björkeroth, Qi Qi, Egor Vorontsov, Carina Sihlbom, Jens Nielsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Cells maintain reserves in their metabolic and translational capacities as a strategy to quickly respond to changing environments. Here we quantify these reserves by stepwise reducing nitrogen availability in yeast steady-state chemostat cultures, imposing severe restrictions on total cellular protein and transcript content. Combining multi-omics analysis with metabolic modeling, we find that seven metabolic superpathways maintain >50% metabolic capacity in reserve, with glucose metabolism maintaining >80% reserve capacity. Cells maintain >50% reserve in translational capacity for 2490 out of 3361 expressed genes (74%), with a disproportionately large reserve dedicated to translating metabolic proteins. Finally, ribosome reserves contain up to 30% sub-stoichiometric ribosomal proteins, with activation of reserve translational capacity associated with selective upregulation of 17 ribosomal proteins. Together, our dataset provides a quantitative link between yeast physiology and cellular economics, which could be leveraged in future cell engineering through targeted proteome streamlining.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1881
JournalNature Communications
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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